Fukushima Update - What's Happening at Fukushima

Update # 32 – July 13, 2011

by Nelle Maxey

At NHK today, another halt to the decontamination system due to leaks and concerns about the operating rate. the framing of the story today is new, that is now it is a filter problem. I'll look into this and I will do some research on this whole system and see what I can find out. In the meantime readers may want to refresh their memory regarding the system by re-reading this article which I posted in an April Update:


Wastewater filters still working below target

"A system installed to recycle radioactive wastewater at Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant continues to work below its target capacity, due to a series of filter problems…." Wednesday, July 13, 2011 19:22 +0900 (JST)

This story is about Unit 5 again. As I speculated on first reporting the problem with a hose spewing water last week, the hose are breaking because they are draped over sharp edges of structures, ie, as I said then, NOT properly supported.

TEPCO halts reactor cooling to replace hose

"Tokyo Electric Power Company says it has resumed cooling of the No. 5 reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant after a brief stop to replace a hose.

TEPCO said it had stopped cooling at 6:30 AM on Wednesday to replace a vinyl hose feeding seawater into the cooling system. It says the hose was touching the edge of a concrete structure and could have ruptured…." Wednesday, July 13, 2011 13:02 +0900 (JST)

This information is from a report TEPCO was ordered to write regarding the cooling of Unit 1 and 4. Remember it is only a "plan" and we will have to wait and see how it unfolds.

New cooling devices set for Fukushima fuel pools

"The operator of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant is to set up two more cooling systems for reactors' spent fuel storage pools.

The planned devices are to start operating in late July at the No. 4 reactor pool and in early August at the No. 1 pool…." Wednesday, July 13, 2011 10:25 +0900 (JST)

Earthquake damage at other plants is reported in this story. We can expect many more stories like these now that inspections are being taking seriously by the companies, the government and the press. Of course this is largely due to PUBLIC pressure as communities refuse to allow the plants to start up until they have more safety assurances.


Quake damage to turbine blades found at Tokai

"Damage to turbine blades, apparently caused by the March 11th earthquake, has been found at a nuclear power plant in Ibaraki Prefecture…." Wednesday, July 13, 2011 22:26 +0900 (JST)

Another story of company/government negligence regarding inspections with the usual run-around excuses.

Operators of 2 reactors to apply for final tests

"Two Japanese power companies are expected to apply to the country's nuclear regulator for final tests of their reactors. This follows criticism that …" Wednesday, July 13, 2011 06:02 +0900 (JST)"


Two stories on the beef contamination.

440 kilograms (970 pounds) of contaminated beef makes for a lot of radioactive steaks. 4 to 7 times the government limit of radioactive cesium is 2,000 to 3,500 bq/kg.

Beef from Fukushima farm sold in 8 prefectures

"Beef from a cattle farm in Fukushima Prefecture that was found to be contaminated with radioactive material has been sold at 21 stores in 8 prefectures…." Wednesday, July 13, 2011 16:24 +0900 (JST)

The government should be putting bans on the sale of meat products and feed products for animals that are contaminated. Is this what the government is doing?

No, government is asking for voluntary compliance and passing out brochures in this story.

What is not discussed is where the cattle farmers are supposed to get feed that is NOT contaminated. All field crops are contaminated in these areas including hay.

It's as if the government thinks the farmers are stupid and didn't know the hay was contaminated, when really they had no choice but to feed their animals what was available. Note that coming food crops for cattle and other farm animals will be tested and the government is leaving it up to the farmers to decide if they should let their animals starve or feed them contaminated crops.

The real question is where will the equipment come from to do internal testing on live animals before they are sold for slaughter.

The whole farming industry (animals, feed and human food crops) is a complete mess at this point. The government seems to putting off the inevitable.

Cattle farmers told not to give feed left outside

"Officials in Fukushima Prefecture have urged cattle farmers not to give their animals feed left outside since the March nuclear accident.

A farmer in Minamisoma City whose cattle were found to be contaminated with radioactive materials had been feeding his animals straw [sic] kept outside after trouble began at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant due to the March 11th disaster.

On Wednesday, prefectural officials handed out leaflets warning about such feed to about 250 farmers taking part in a cattle auction. The farmers were also asked to pay attention to the results of screening by the prefecture of corn and rice plants to be harvested in the near future to be used as feed…." Wednesday, July 13, 2011 17:52 +0900 (JST)

With continued environmental testing by independent citizens, this report is in the international press today.

52,547 Bq/Kg Of Cesium Radiation Found In Soil Just Outside Tokyo

"52,547 Bq/Kg of of Cesium radiation measured in soil samples collected just outside of Tokyo over 135 miles south of the Fukushima nuclear power plant.

A reader from Japan has sent me a copy of his official Lab results for nuclear radiation soil samples collected in Kashiwa, Japan, which is on the outskirts of Tokyo and over 135 miles south of the Fukushima nuclear reactor. The lab results show that 52,547 Becquerels Per Kilogram Of Cesium Radiation was found in the sample. 23,663 Bq/Kg of Cesium 134 radiation was found. 28,884 Bq/Kg of Cesium 137 was detected.

I live in japan 135 miles / 220 Km south of Fukushima, in Kashiwa. I had the soil in Kashiwa professionally tested here are the official results for the levels of Cesium-137 and 134 and Iodine-131 only. No lab in Japan offers testing for any of the other dangerous radioactive elements like Plutonium / Strontium / Tellurium or Curium, all elements that were released in the explosion Use these results as you see fit, yes I know the results are nothing less than horrifying, what is even more terrifying is that the soil sample was taken from the side of the street where children walk everyday and not from where the elements could accumulate. This is the Cesium-137/134 and Iodine-131 levels of the soil in Kashiwa, that I had sent in and officially tested by a lab here in Japan. Jon-in-Japan"

And also this story is in the international press today where the ash from garbage incineration is showing high levels of radiation contamination.

Radioactive ash found in waste plants near Tokyo

Japanese waste incineration plants near Tokyo have found high levels of radiation in ash, and officials said Tuesday it may be from garden waste contaminated by the Fukushima nuclear disaster.

The radioactive caesium was detected in plants in Kashiwa city in Chiba prefecture, northeast of Tokyo and about 200 kilometres (120 miles) from the plant that has leaked radiation since the March 11 quake and tsunami.

Officials stressed that the radioactive ash collected in late June and early July, at concentrations of up to 70,800 becquerels per kilogramme, was safely contained within the plant and posed no health risk to the community…."

And finally these quotes of a Reuters story from Energy News today regarding the Los Alamos contamination problems:

Contaminated soil a concern at Los Alamos lab

July 11, 2011 Full Reuters article here: http://www.reuters.com/article/2011/07/12/us-monsoons-wildfire-new-mexico-idUSTRE76A7DH20110712

"[…] crews at the Los Alamos National Laboratory have begun removing contaminated soil from nearby canyons out of a concern that flash flooding could wash toxins into the Rio Grande [that supplies drinking water for Santa Fe and many other communities] officials said on Monday. […]

The soil in the canyons above Los Alamos National Laboratory, the linchpin of American's nuclear weapons industry, contains materials with trace amounts of radiation […]

Over the weekend, about 1,200 cubic yards of contaminated soil was removed primarily from two canyons – Los Alamos and Pajarito – that run through lab property, [ Fred deSousa, spokesman for the lab's environmental control division] said."

The Energy News link also contains the quotes from a report titled, An Assessment of Los Alamos National Laboratory [LANL] Waste Disposal Inventory by Radioactive Waste Management Associates published in November 2009: [The link at Enerergy News is to a pdf file of the full study.]

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