Tuesday, 29 March 2011

Japan Nuclear Crisis-Tragedy "far beyond that of Chernobyl" probable.

Highly radioactive water fills the basements. Plutonium has been being released for over a week. The temperatures that they can still measure are rising. Reports are that unit #3 has melted through the bottom of its containment vessel.

There is little question left that the entire Fukushima plant is going to be evacuated soon. The exhausted workers usefulness is almost at its end.

Nobody knows how bad it will get now...

Dr. Michio Kaku - 25 March 2011 Japan: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=haBovPouOU8


Saturday, 26 March 2011

Japan Nuclear Crisis-Governments and industry doing the usual spin while disaster turns into catastrophe.

It has become obvious to many that the scale of this disaster is being hidden from the public.

Avoiding panic is generally a good idea, but a some panic is probably in order here. Actions being taken in response to this disaster are being driven by forces distorted by many agendas. As a result, actions that should be taken to keep the disaster from multiplying into a complete catastrophe are not being taken.

There is nothing new about our being lied to, but Fukushima presents our entire population with a new and unprecedented level of danger. Huge and entrenched interests; government, industry, and private are trying to spin this disaster like they did with Bhopal, Chernobyl, Deepwater Horizon, and many others.

The first part of good disaster spin is to minimize the scale of the problem. The powers that be are hiding and distorting the facts about radiation release from Fukushima and about how damaged the plant really is. They hope to contain the event and then downplay how bad it really was for ever after. Releasing the data, evacuating the responsible areas, and entombing the plant are all actions that defeat this spin effort. So actions to protect the spin are taken instead of actions with the most hope of actually mitigating this disaster.

Unfortunately, the worst case scenarios at Fukushima become more probable with every hour's passing. This is not Bhopal, where the chemical fire eventually ran out of fuel. This is not a BP oil well in the gulf that can be capped and forgotten. This is not even Chernobyl where one reactor was stabilized and entombed by a massive government effort.

As the spin machine run by the powers that be tries to decide where this event fits between Three Mile Island and Chernobyl, I would draw a different comparison. At Fukushima we have three Three Mile Islands each of which has also suffered physical plant damage comparable to Chernobyl which prevents repair of cooling function. A total of over 1.7 million kg of spent fuel is in danger of melting and burning. This event dwarfs Chernobyl and Three Mile Island combined. It may end up dwarfing every nuclear event in our history, including Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Fukushima has no comparison and will almost certainly set the new benchmark.

Core vessels have been breached. Steam/hydrogen explosion of a containment vessel and/or a major rod fire are probable events soon. Once this occurs, further efforts to stave off complete catastrophe become next to impossible due to lethal radiation levels around the plant.

The results of this spin, deception, and misdirected action will have global consequences on a scale never seen before. If there was a time in history where our entrenched powers need to change their ways and act in the best interests of humanity, it is now.

Continuing to hide from the reality at Fukushima may be a critical mistake.

It seems to me that the first step in dealing with a problem is to understand its scope. The world needs full disclosure immediately. A massive and well directed response must be undertaken immediately.

Scott Nance blogged at http://networkedblogs.com/fU4SY that, "Three groups – Friends of the Earth, the Nuclear Information and Resource Service, and Physicians for Social Responsibility – announced Friday that they have filed a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request to get to the bottom of what led the U.S. government to call for a 50-mile evacuation radius for Americans near the Japanese reactor crisis in Fukushima."

I applaud the effort, but we need more and we need it yesterday.

The world needs to know the facts, and appropriate action needs to be developed and implemented to respond to the worst nuclear disaster in our history. If we act quickly and are lucky we may stave off the unthinkable. If we continue with business as usual it may cost us more than we can afford to pay ...


Japan Nuclear Crisis-Bill Nye says Fukushima repair improbable. Entomb now. Plutonium being released.

Bill Nye (on CNN) gives conservative but realistic assessment of just how serious situation is at Fukushima.


Japan Nuclear Crisis-Fukushima-Radiation-Updated Links List

All of the information is out there ...


Japan Radiation maximum by prefecture

NHK World English
NHK World TV English
Mainichi Daily News
NY Times Status Updates

Fukushima plant photograph - Updated hourly

Nuclear Fuel Pools
Hirose Takashi Interview
Decontamination Threshold
Marvin Resnikoff Article
Dr. Michael Allen Article

Japan Nuclear Crisis-Detailed info on spent fuel pools at Fukushima.

Over 10,000 assemblies weighing approx 170kg each are stored in the spent fuel pools. This means that a total of over 1,700,000 kg of nuclear fuel rods are stored in seven pools at Fukushima.

Over 1,800 assemblies in units #3 and #4 weigh a total of over 300,000 kg and are at immediate and high risk.

See for yourself. http://allthingsnuclear.org/post/4008511524/more-on-spent-fuel-pools-at-fukushima#comment-172359487


Japan Nuclear Crisis-Fukushima cooling efforts making problem worse, not better.

Japan, the nuclear industry and the media continue their effort to minimize this disaster. A review of the evidence shows that current efforts to cool the plant are both ineffective and counter-productive.

Every day that is spent pouring water on radioactive lava is another day wasted. All the salt accumulation in the reactors will have locked every valve, making reactivation of the circulation pumps impossible even if they have power and fresh water.

The water presently reaching the melting fuel is first super contaminated after which is it released into the air via steam, or into the local ground water and the adjacent ocean. Most will end up in the ocean. These radioactive elements will concentrate into the food chain. The inverse square law really means that ingestion of radioactive elements magnifies their effect immensely.

Every day, radiation climbs at the plant. Every day is one day less we have to work before the problem escalates even further. Every day, we are lied to about the magnitude of the problem puts the Japanese people and the entire world at greater risk.

A massive effort to isolate, cool, and then entomb the entire site should have started a week or more ago.

You cannot just pour concrete over the reactors and ponds. First you have cool the fuel and immerse it in a moderator so that the melting stops. To first cool the fuel you must do more than pour water over top of it. You must submerge it in circulating, cooled water, or in an amount of water large enough to naturally disperse the heat.

If you turned the each unit or the entire site into a huge swimming pool further meltdown could be halted. Moderators could be injected. Concrete could then be poured on until the plant is entombed.

This is simplistic and filled with complications, but some sort of drastic effort along these lines should have begun on day one. It may already be too late, but work with huge bulldozers, shovels, and dump trucks should be possible even as radiation levels rise. On equipment that large radiation shielding could be built around the driver. Giant dikes could be built and all the fuel could be immersed in a body of water large enough to keep it cool. Further steps could then be taken.

This immense problem requires an immediate and immense response.


Japan Nuclear Crisis-Scientist sums up argument for immediate entombment.

Hirose Takashi:  The Fukushima Nuclear Power Plant Accident and the State of the Media
Broadcast by Asahi NewStar, 17 March, 20:00
Interviewers: Yoh Sen'ei and Maeda Mari
Yoh:  Today many people saw water being sprayed on the reactors from the air and from the ground, but is this effective?
Hirose:  . . . If you want to cool a reactor down with water, you have to circulate the water inside and carry the heat away, otherwise it has no meaning. So the only solution is to reconnect the electricity.  Otherwise it’s like pouring water on lava.
Yoh:  Reconnect the electricity – that’s to restart the cooling system?
Hirose:  Yes.  The accident was caused by the fact that the tsunami flooded the emergency generators and carried away their fuel tanks.  If that isn’t fixed, there’s no way to recover from this accident.
Yoh: Tepco [Tokyo Electric Power Company, owner/operator of the nuclear plants] says they expect to bring in a high voltage line this evening.
Hirose: Yes, there’s a little bit of hope there.  But what’s worrisome is that a nuclear reactor is not like what the schematic pictures show (shows a graphic picture of a reactor, like those used on TV).  This is just a cartoon.  Here’s what it looks like underneath a reactor container (shows a photograph).  This is the butt end of the reactor.  Take a look.  It’s a forest of switch levers and wires and pipes.  On television these pseudo-scholars come on and give us simple explanations, but they know nothing, those college professors.  Only the engineers know.  This is where water has been poured in.  This maze of pipes is enough to make you dizzy.  Its structure is too wildly complex for us to understand. For a week now they have been pouring water through there.  And it’s salt water, right?  You pour salt water on a hot kiln and what do you think happens?  You get salt. The salt will get into all these valves and cause them to freeze.  They won’t move.  This will be happening everywhere.  So I can’t believe that it’s just a simple matter of you reconnecting the electricity and the water will begin to circulate.  I think any engineer with a little imagination can understand this.  You take a system as unbelievably complex as this and then actually dump water on it from a helicopter – maybe they have some idea of how this could work, but I can’t understand it.
Yoh:  It will take 1300 tons of water to fill the pools that contain the spent fuel rods in reactors 3 and 4.  This morning 30 tons.  Then the Self Defense Forces are to hose in another 30 tons from five trucks.  That’s nowhere near enough, they have to keep it up.  Is this squirting of water from hoses going to change the situation?
Hirose:  In principle, it can’t.  Because even when a reactor is in good shape, it requires constant control to keep the temperature down to where it is barely safe.  Now it’s a complete mess inside, and when I think of the 50 remaining operators, it brings tears to my eyes.  I assume they have been exposed to very large amounts of radiation, and that they have accepted that they face death by staying there.  And how long can they last?  I mean, physically.  That’s what the situation has come to now.  When I see these accounts on television, I want to tell them, “If that’s what you say, then go there and do it yourself!”  Really, they talk this nonsense, trying to reassure everyone, trying to avoid panic.  What we need now is a proper panic.  Because the situation has come to the point where the danger is real. 
If I were Prime Minister Kan, I would order them to do what the Soviet Union did when the Chernobyl reactor blew up, the sarcophagus solution, bury the whole thing under cement, put every cement company in Japan to work, and dump cement over it from the sky.  Because you have to assume the worst case.  Why?  Because in Fukushima there is the Daiichi Plant with six reactors and the Daini Plant with four for a total of ten reactors.  If even one of them develops the worst case, then the workers there must either evacuate the site or stay on and collapse.  So if, for example, one of the reactors at Daiichi goes down, the other five are only a matter of time.  We can’t know in what order they will go, but certainly all of them will go.  And if that happens, Daini isn’t so far away, so probably the reactors there will also go down.  Because I assume that workers will not be able to stay there. 
I’m speaking of the worst case, but the probability is not low.  This is the danger that the world is watching.  Only in Japan is it being hidden.  As you know, of the six reactors at Daiichi, four are in a crisis state.  So even if at one everything goes well and water circulation is restored, the other three could still go down.  Four are in crisis, and for all four to be 100 per cent repaired, I hate to say it, but I am pessimistic.  If so, then to save the people, we have to think about some way to reduce the radiation leakage to the lowest level possible.  Not by spraying water from hoses, like sprinkling water on a desert.  We have to think of all six going down, and the possibility of that happening is not low.  Everyone knows how long it takes a typhoon to pass over Japan; it generally takes about a week.  That is, with a wind speed of two meters per second, it could take about five days for all of Japan to be covered with radiation.  We’re not talking about distances of 20 kilometers or 30 kilometers or 100 kilometers.  It means of course Tokyo, Osaka.  That’s how fast a radioactive cloud could spread. Of course it would depend on the weather; we can’t know in advance how the radiation would be distributed.  It would be nice if the wind would blow toward the sea, but it doesn’t always do that.  Two days ago, on the 15th, it was blowing toward Tokyo.  That’s how it is. . . .
Yoh: Every day the local government is measuring the radioactivity.  All the television stations are saying that while radiation is rising, it is still not high enough to be a danger to health. They compare it to a stomach x-ray, or if it goes up, to a CT scan.  What is the truth of the matter?
Hirose: For example, yesterday.  Around Fukushima Daiichi Station they measured 400 millisieverts – that’s per hour.  With this measurement (Chief Cabinet Secretary) Edano admitted for the first time that there was a danger to health, but he didn’t explain what this means.  All of the information media are at fault here I think.  They are saying stupid things like, why, we are exposed to radiation all the time in our daily life, we get radiation from outer space.  But that’s one millisievert per year.  A year has 365 days, a day has 24 hours; multiply 365 by 24, you get 8760.  Multiply the 400 millisieverts by that, you get 3,500,000 the normal dose.  You call that safe?  And what media have reported this?  None.  They compare it to a CT scan, which is over in an instant; that has nothing to do with it.  The reason radioactivity can be measured is that radioactive material is escaping.  What is dangerous is when that material enters your body and irradiates it from inside.  These industry-mouthpiece scholars come on TV and what to they say?  They say as you move away the radiation is reduced in inverse ratio to the square of the distance.  I want to say the reverse.  Internal irradiation happens when radioactive material is ingested into the body.  What happens?  Say there is a nuclear particle one meter away from you. You breathe it in, it sticks inside your body; the distance between you and it is now at the micron level. One meter is 1000 millimeters, one micron is one thousandth of a millimeter.  That’s a thousand times a thousand: a thousand squared.  That’s the real meaning of “inverse ratio of the square of the distance.”  Radiation exposure is increased by a factor of a trillion.  Inhaling even the tiniest particle, that’s the danger.
Yoh:  So making comparisons with X-rays and CT scans has no meaning.  Because you can breathe in radioactive material.
Hirose:  That’s right.  When it enters your body, there’s no telling where it will go.  The biggest danger is women, especially pregnant women, and little children.  Now they’re talking about iodine and cesium, but that’s only part of it, they’re not using the proper detection instruments.  What they call monitoring means only measuring the amount of radiation in the air.  Their instruments don’t eat.  What they measure has no connection with the amount of radioactive material. . . .
Yoh:  So damage from radioactive rays and damage from radioactive material are not the same.
Hirose:  If you ask, are any radioactive rays from the Fukushima Nuclear Station here in this studio, the answer will be no.  But radioactive particles are carried here by the air.  When the core begins to melt down, elements inside like iodine turn to gas.  It rises to the top, so if there is any crevice it escapes outside.
Yoh:  Is there any way to detect this?
Hirose: I was told by a newspaper reporter that now Tepco is not in shape even to do regular monitoring.  They just take an occasional measurement, and that becomes the basis of Edano’s statements.  You have to take constant measurements, but they are not able to do that.  And you need to investigate just what is escaping, and how much.  That requires very sophisticated measuring instruments.  You can’t do it just by keeping a monitoring post.  It’s no good just to measure the level of radiation in the air.  Whiz in by car, take a measurement, it’s high, it’s low – that’s not the point.  We need to know what kind of radioactive materials are escaping, and where they are going – they don’t have a system in place for doing that now.