Fukushima Update - Radiation in BC

Update # 43: Thursday August 4, 2011

by Nelle Maxey

The Georgia Straight has two articles today on radiation in BC (and the rest of Canada) in the month following the explosions and meltdowns at Fukushima.

The first article is 4 pages long. The second is only one page. I have only clipped the comments from Energy News here. There is much more information. I suggest you click on the links and read the articles in their entirety. Then send your comments to your MLAs and MPs. Please don't remain silent about your concerns.

Japan's Fukushima catastrophe brings big radiation spikes to B.C.

Georgia Straight (Vancouver) by Alex Roslin, August 4, 2011:

"After Japan's Fukushima catastrophe, Canadian government officials reassured jittery Canadians that the radioactive plume billowing from the destroyed nuclear reactors posed zero health risks in this country.

In fact, there was reason to worry. Health Canada detected massive amounts of radioactive material from Fukushima in Canadian air in March and April at monitoring stations across the country.

The level of radioactive iodine spiked above the federal maximum allowed limit in the air at four of the five sites where Health Canada monitors levels of specific radioisotopes. […]"

Monitoring stations catch a fraction of Fukushima fallout

Georgia Straight (Vancouver) by Alex Roslin, August 4, 2011:

"[…] You have to scroll down to the bottom of Health Canada's radiation webpage to find the more striking data from the five stations monitoring specific radioactive substances.

This data shows the air at the five stations contained an average of 33.3 millibecquerels of radioactive iodine per cubic metre during 30.4 days of elevated radiation.

That works out to double the 16.7 millibecquerels per cubic metre of iodine-131 that would be permitted over those 30.4 days, according to the maximum limit set by the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission. (The commission's ceiling is 200 millibecquerels per cubic metre of exposure in the air on a daily basis for an entire year. That equates to 16.7 millibecquerels per cubic metre over 30.4 days.)

The station in Sidney, B.C., detected 19.4 millibecquerels per cubic metre of iodine-131 in the air during a 22-day-long spike in radiation. That was 61 percent higher than the maximum dose of 12.1 millibecquerels per cubic metre permitted for 22 days."

Industry giants team up for new company

"Japanese industrial giants Hitachi and Mitsubishi Heavy Industries have agreed to start negotiations to establish a new company….

The fields in which the 2 companies plan to merge their businesses are expected to become the key to developing smart cities powered by renewable energy…." Thursday, August 04, 2011 06:19 +0900 (JST)

Today we see another series of stories at NHK of the "two steps forward, one step back" variety . . . wait that's at least 2 steps back:
Step Forward (may be cosmetic only):
Japan plans to dismiss top nuclear officials
"The Japanese government plans to dismiss 3 top officials in charge of nuclear power policy over their handling of the accident at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant…." Thursday, August 04, 2011 11:05 +0900 (JST)

Step Forward: Radiation limit for children will be lowered

"The Japanese government says the yearly radiation limit for school children will be lowered as early as this month.
The government has set the limit for accumulated external radiation for children involved in outdoor activities at 20 millisieverts per year, in the wake of the Fukushima nuclear accident.
But many parents and teachers want the figure to be lowered. Some schools are restricting outdoor activities by their pupils even if radiation levels are below the government-set standard…." Thursday, August 04, 2011 11:05 +0900 (JST)

Step Back: this will release government and TEPCO from extended compensation payments to displaced residents.

Evacuation orders to be lifted in late August
"The government says it wants to lift evacuation advisories in a few weeks for areas 20 to 30 kilometers from the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant.

A recovery timetable released on Wednesday proposes lifting the evacuation notice later this month or early next since the situation at the plant has improved.

The plan covers areas between 20 and 30 kilometers from the plant. Residents there are currently advised to stay indoors and prepare for emergency evacuation…." Thursday, August 04, 2011 07:57 +0900 (JST)

Step Back: See SKF article below for an evaluation of this article as an extend and pretend sham. (And the link to the evacuation article above.)

TEPCO reports cooling system's reliability

"The operator of the Fukushima power plant says it could restart injecting water into its crippled reactors within 3 hours after mechanical problems or power failure halt the plant's cooling system….

The report says TEPCO could restart the system within 30 minutes of a loss of power or the water pumps breaking down by using extra pumps and emergency generators.

If problems occur simultaneously, TEPCO says it will use fire engines to restart injecting coolant water within 3 hours.

The report admits that if the circulation of coolant water is suspended for several hours, temperatures in the reactors could climb high enough to cause radioactive releases, or another hydrogen explosion.

The company says it would increase the amount of coolant water to the maximum levels in such an emergency.

TEPCO's report is expected to help the government review an emergency evacuation advisory for local residents." Thursday, August 04, 2011 07:57 +0900 (JST)

Here is the very important SKF analysis of the TEPCO report to NISA.

Wednesday, August 3, 2011

TEPCO Is Not Providing English Translation of Its Report to NISA on Emergency Cooling Scheme That Assumes Fuel and Reactors Intact at Fukushima

"The Japanese government seems to be "instructing" TEPCO not to release certain information in English.

TEPCO submitted the report to its regulatory agency Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) "on the measures to continue water injection into reactors of Units 1 to 3 at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station" on August 3. It's in Japanese only, and it may or may not be translated into English.

According to TEPCO:

"We have provided a Japanese press release version of the instruction document received from NISA. However, at this time we have reserved the right not to provide an English version due to potential misunderstandings that may arise from an inaccurate rendering of the original Japanese text. We may provide the English translation that NISA releases in our press releases. However, in principle we would advise you to visit the NISA website for timely and accurate information."

        (From TEPCO's English press release on August 3 explaining why they are releasing the information only in Japanese.)

The 34-page Japanese report is […] is an excellent report in "Extend and Pretend", full of elaborate diagrams and flow charts, which states that TEPCO will be able to resume water injection into the 3 (broken) reactors at Fukushima I Nuke Plant within 3 hours at most, more likely within 30 minutes, in case of an emergency which causes the water to stop for any reason – pump failure, power outage, even the total station blackout.

It almost makes me wonder that the reason for not providing English translation is not to avoid "potential misunderstanding" but out of embarrassment.

Why? Because:

     • The report talks about the fuel inside the Reactor Pressure Vessels;

     • It talks about the reactors as if they were sound;

     • It states that zirconium will start to interact with water at a certain temperature (1,200 degrees Celsius).

Most likely, there is no fuel left inside the RPVs at Fukushima I Nuke Plant. Even if there is, it is not fuel any more but "corium" – fuel, control rods, instruments, whatever inside the RPV, melted together. TEPCO has already admitted that there are holes in the RPV, and holes in the Containment Vessels. There is no zirconium left because there is no cladding left.

In fact, nowhere in the report does the company say anything about melted fuel, broken reactors, water in the basements, or extremely high radiation at certain locations in the plant.

But the report goes on to describe the elaborate backup pump system and power system as if what they are dealing with is normal (i.e. without cracks or holes at the bottom) reactors with intact fuel rods inside the RPVs with control rods safely deployed in a clean nuclear power plant, and all they need to worry is how they can continue the cooling; or as if the salt-encrusted molten mess of everything that was inside the RPV behaves just the same as normal fuel rods in a normal reactor.

One of the first responses required in almost all emergency cases described in the report requires the plant personnel hurrying to the parking lot on the ocean-side of the main administrative building to carry out the necessary task. What if it's again the earthquake/tsunami situation where the plant workers cannot come to the parking lot? Any contingency plan for that?


Why was TEPCO asked by NISA to submit this report to begin with? So that the national government can begin the discussion with the local municipalities within the 20-kilometer radius evacuation zone for the return of the residents to their towns and villages. The discussion is to begin this month, and TEPCO's report will be used to reassure the residents that Fukushima I Nuke Plant is so stable now with the solid plans (to be approved by NISA, which no doubt will happen very soon) to cool the fuels in the reactors even in case of an emergency."

I would add to SFK's information on the NISA report this post from Physics Forum, posted by tsutsuji

http://www.tepco.co.jp/cc/press/betu…es/110803l.pdf  This is the Japanese language press release version of Tepco's report to NISA about the stability of securing cooling to units 1,2,3. […] I have begun to read some pages.

Page 11-1 (pdf page number 33) tells how much time it would take to reach 1200°C if cooling stops : 15,14,13 hours respectively for units 1,2,3.

Now what does this mean in relation to TEPCO's announcement today they are shutting down the decontamination/recirculation cooling system for 12 hours.

One assumes they are providing cooling by another means during the  extended shutdown so temperatures do not rise in Units 1 &2.

TEPCO to attach hoses to improve water filter flow


"The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant will attach makeshift hoses to its wastewater filtering system to help improve the water flow.

Tokyo Electric Power Company has been filtering highly contaminated wastewater to remove radioactive material and salt, and then pumping the water back into the reactors as coolant.

But the filters have been working at about 35 percent below capacity, likely because metal piping connecting the tanks has been narrowed by mud [ie, radioactive sludge-Nelle].

The utility therefore plans to stop the system for nearly 12 hours on Thursday and attach bypass hoses at 2 locations.

TEPCO has also installed a new device to remove radioactive cesium, in addition to the one currently in use.

It plans to start test-running the device on Saturday, and begin full operation next Monday.

TEPCO aims to improve the efficiency of its water filtering system to lower wastewater pooled in facility basements to safe levels as soon as possible.

The utility says it plans to achieve this for the No.1 and No. 2 reactors in early September." Thursday, August 04, 2011 09:47 +0900 (JST)

And finally, this story from Reuters today. Hardly news, as we know the risk assessments for nuclear plants are absolutely faulty since worse case scenarios are never considered…it's "bad for business".

Fukushima disaster not "unforeseen"-NRC commissioner, Reuters, August 4, 2011:

Here are the clips from Energy News.

[…] This focus on the unthinkable is really misplaced. [Fukushima] was not unthinkable at all, [George Apostolakis, one of the five-member Nuclear Regulatory Commission]  said in a speech at the Bipartisan Policy Centre.

He said not enough people have acknowledged that the plant should have been better secured. This is the kind of secret that everybody knows but nobody wants to say anything about. […]

Now please note, the focus of the entire story at the Reuters link is that the tsunami, not the earthquake, caused the disaster-the myth the entire industry is determined to perpetuate. This to deflect attention from earthquake damage (leading to the meltdowns) resulting from intrinsic problems with nuke plant design and lack of money and attention spent on inspection and maintenance within the industry.

To refresh your memory on this subject, see the May 23rd Update for a series of articles, as well as these two more recent articles forwarded in July Updates.

Meltdown: What really happened at fukushima?

The 'simulation analysis' deception technique


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