Archive for the ‘IAEA’ Category
April 15, 2011: David McNeill in Tokyo / Irish Times – April 15, 2011
Fukushima’s Reactor #3 contains MOX (mixed oxide) fuel, meaning it contains plutonium. If there were a Level 8, this would be it… – SJH
SCIENTISTS say the fight to bring Japan’s crippled nuclear power plant under control could take three months or more, even if not hampered by further earthquakes.
The announcement comes after another day of aftershocks, including one with an epicentre about 25km from the Fukushima plant.
The head of the Atomic Energy Society of Japan, Takashi Sawada, said yesterday that fuel rods in reactors 1 and 3 have melted and settled at the bottom of their containment vessels, confirming fears that the plant suffered a partial meltdown after last month’s huge earthquake and tsunami.
Engineers have been struggling since to bring four reactors under control by pouring water onto overheating nuclear fuel, and that water is highly contaminated as a result. Mr Sawada warned the condition of the plant could worsen if another strong quake knocks out power to its cooling systems.
“That would destabilise pressure and temperatures inside the reactors and the situation would become extremely unpredictable again,” he said.
The nuclear crisis is adding to the political woes of embattled Prime Minister Naoto Kan, who yesterday inaugurated a council of experts charged with leading Japan’s reconstruction from the triple disaster, which has left 28,000 dead or missing and 150,000 people homeless.
Lawmakers and council members are debating a so-called “disaster tax” to pay for the cost of rebuilding, including an immediate 4 trillion yen (€33 billion) relief package. “All the people should support and share the burden,” said Makoto Iokibe, a senior adviser to the prime minister.
Ichiro Ozawa, a former president of the ruling Democrats (DPJ), however, led a withering attack on the prime minister yesterday, criticising his poor leadership amid Japan’s worst crisis since the second World War.
“The irresponsible way the cabinet is dealing , with Prime Minister Naoto Kan himself not exercising his leadership, could lead to further disasters,” Mr Ozawa said in a letter to the party.
Some lawmakers within the DPJ want Mr Kan to resign following a drubbing in last weekend’s nationwide local elections. Mr Ozawa said the elections had “served notice” to the prime minister.
Mr Kan faces growing criticism for what Mr Ozawa called “his slow response” to the nuclear crisis and his failure to take a harder line with Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco), the operator of the Fukushima plant. Tepco has frustrated and puzzled observers with its reluctance to reveal information about what’s happening inside the plant, or to speculate on its future.
The criticism has worsened since a rare press conference this week held by Tepco’s beleaguered president, Masataka Shimizu, who provoked reporters with a string of evasive replies about the state of the Fukushima plant. Toshiba, which built four of the plant’s six reactors, has warned it will take at least 10 years to decommission them, even if the damaged reactors can be brought under control.
Meanwhile, Japan’s Nuclear Safety Commission revealed this week that it had waited weeks to publish information on elevated radiation levels from the plant last month partly to avoid panic. “Some foreigners fled the country even when there appeared to be little risk,” said Seiji Shiroya, an official with the independent government panel. “If we immediately decided to label the situation as Level 7, we could have triggered a panicked reaction.”
Theoretical Physicist: Fukishima Daiichi Nuclear Facility Is A “Ticking Time Bomb”
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Kaku gives an honest and succinct interview on Democracy Now! – SJH
Melted Nuclear Fuel Settled At Bottom Of Crippled Reactors
Link to original article below…
April 12, 2011: Brian Moench / The Salt Lake Tribune – April 9, 2011
Radiation from Japan is now detectable in the atmosphere, rain water and food chain in North America. Fukushima reactors are still out of control and hold 10 times more nuclear fuel than there was at Chernobyl, thousands of times more than the bomb dropped on Hiroshima. The official refrain is, “No worries here, perfectly harmless.”
Our best scientists of the previous century would be rolling over in their graves. In the 1940s many of the world’s premier nuclear scientists saw mounting evidence that there was no safe level of exposure to nuclear radiation. This led Robert Oppenheimer, the father of the atom bomb, to oppose development of the hydrogen bomb.
In the 1950s, Linus Pauling, the only two-time winner of the Nobel Prize, began warning the public about exposure to all radiation. This opinion, ultimately endorsed by thousands of scientists worldwide, led President John F. Kennedy to sign the nuclear test ban treaty.
In the 1960s, Drs. John Gofman, Arthur Tamplin, Alice Stewart, Thomas Mancuso and Karl Morgan, all researchers for the Atomic Energy Commission or the Department of Energy, independently came to the conclusion that exposure to nuclear radiation was not safe at any level.
The government terminated their services for coming up with what Dr. Gofman called the “wrong answer,” that is, the opposite of what the AEC wanted to hear. The top Russian nuclear physicist in the 1960s, Andrei Sakharov, also a Nobel Prize winner, and Vladimir Chernousenko, who the Soviet Union placed in charge of the Chernobyl cleanup, are among other international experts who drew similar conclusions.
To distract from the danger of man-made radioactivity, we hear from nuclear cheerleaders that watching TV and airline travel also expose us to radiation. True, although they never mention that flight crews have higher rates of breast and skin cancer. Equating those very different types of radiation is like equating the damage of being hit with ping pong balls (photons) with being hit by bullets (beta particles). Your TV doesn’t shoot bullets at you.
Even if your TV only shot a few bullets per show, you probably wouldn’t watch much TV. Furthermore, the damage done by these radioactive “bullets” can vary tremendously depending on which organs are hit. To carry the analogy one step further, spraying a few bullets into a large crowd can hardly be considered harmless even if the ratio of bullets per person is very low.
Bioaccumulation increases the concentration of many contaminants as one moves up the food chain. Beef is much higher in dioxins than cattle feed and tuna fish have much higher mercury than their marine environment. Radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium, all beta emitters, become concentrated in the food chain because of bioaccumulation. At the top of the food chain, of course, are humans, including fetuses, and human breast milk.
In 1963, one week after an atmospheric nuclear bomb test in Russia, our scientists observed the magnifying power of bioaccumulation when they detected radioactive iodine in the thyroids of mammals in North America even though they could not detect smaller amounts in the air or on vegetation.
Bioaccumulation is one reason why it is dishonest to equate the danger to humans living 5,000 miles away from Japan with the minute concentrations measured in our air. If we tried, we would now likely be able to measure radioactive iodine, cesium, and strontium bioaccumulating in human embryos in this country. Pregnant women, are you OK with that?
Hermann Mueller, another Nobel Prize winner, is one of many scientists who would not have been OK with that. In a 1964 study, “Radiation and Heredity”, Mueller spelled out the genetic damage of ionizing radiation on humans. He predicted the gradual reduction of the survival of the human species as exposure to radioactivity steadily increased. Indeed, sperm counts, sperm viability and fertility rates worldwide have been dropping for decades.
These scientists and their warnings have never been disproven, but they are currently widely ignored. Their message is very clear: Virtually every human on Earth carries the nuclear legacy, a genetic footprint contaminated by the Cold War, Three Mile Island, Chernobyl, the 400-plus nuclear power plants that have not melted down and now Fukushima.
Albert Einstein said, “The splitting of the atom changed everything, save man’s mode of thinking; thus we drift towards unparalleled catastrophe.”
US Government Official: “There Is No Safe Dose Of Radiation”
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Yet the EPA is raising the “legal” limits by up to 100,000 times! – SJH
Link to original article below…
April 11, 2011: NHK World Editors / NHK World – April 12, 2011 – (Time Zone Differential)
The Japanese government’s nuclear safety agency has decided to raise the crisis level of the Fukushima Daiichi power plant accident from 5 to 7, the worst on the international scale.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency made the decision on Monday. It says the damaged facilities have been releasing a massive amount of radioactive substances, which are posing a threat to human health and the environment over a wide area.
The agency used the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale, or INES, to gauge the level. The scale was designed by an international group of experts to indicate the significance of nuclear events with ratings of 0 to 7.
On March 18th, one week after the massive quake, the agency declared the Fukushima trouble a level 5 incident, the same as the accident at Three Mile Island in the United States in 1979.
Level 7 has formerly only been applied to the Chernobyl accident in the former Soviet Union in 1986 when hundreds of thousands of terabecquerels of radioactive iodine-131 were released into the air. One terabecquerel is one trillion becquerels. The agency believes the cumulative amount from the Fukushima plant is less than that from Chernobyl.
Officials from the agency and the Nuclear Safety Commission will hold a news conference on Tuesday morning to explain the change of evaluation.
Fukushima Japan Nuclear Disaster Raised To Level 7 – Same As Chernobyl
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: I don’t think anyone paying attention to this disaster is surprised, other than by the fact that it took Japan over a month to state the obvious. Breathe shallow… – SJH
Link to original article with video below…
April 11, 2011: Kyodo News Editor’s / Kyodo News – April 12, 2011 (Time Zone Differential)
This would be a significant admission… – SJH
The Nuclear Safety Commission of Japan released a preliminary calculation Monday saying that the crippled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been releasing up to 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour at some point after a massive quake and tsunami hit northeastern Japan on March 11 .
The disclosure prompted the government to consider raising the accident’s severity level to 7, the worst on an international scale, from the current 5, government sources said. The level 7 on the International Nuclear Event Scale has only been applied to the 1986 Chernobyl catastrophe.
The current provisional evaluation of 5 is at the same level as the Three Mile Island accident in the United States in 1979.
According to an evaluation by the INES, level 7 accidents correspond with a release into the external environment radioactive materials equal to more than tens of thousands terabecquerels of radioactive iodine 131. One terabecquerel equals 1 trillion becquerels.
Haruki Madarame, chairman of the commission, which is a government panel, said it has estimated that the release of 10,000 terabecquerels of radioactive materials per hour continued for several hours.
The commission says the release has since come down to under 1 terabecquerel per hour and said that it is still examining the total amount of radioactive materials released.
The commission also released a preliminary calculation for the cumulative amount of external exposure to radiation, saying it exceeded the yearly limit of 1 millisieverts in areas extending more than 60 kilometers to the northwest of the plant and about 40 km to the south-southwest of the plant.
It encompasses the cities of Fukushima, Date, Soma, Minamisoma, and Iwaki, which are all in Fukushima Prefecture, and some areas including the town of Hirono in the prefecture.
Within a 20-km exclusion zone set by the government, the amount varied from under 1 millisieverts to 100 millisieverts or more, and in the 20-30 km radius ring where residents are asked to stay indoors, it came to under 50 millisieverts.
The commission used the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information to calculate the spread of radiation.
Breaking News – Strong 7.0 Aftershock In Fukushima (April 11, 2011)
The Tonka Report Editor’s Note: Further damage from this latest quake may have prompted Japan to consider raising the severity up to Level 7, but quite frankly, this was always a Level 7 nuclear disaster… – SJH
UPDATE: Breaking News – Japan Raises Nuclear Disaster To Level 7 (with video)
Link to original article below…