Day 289 You load 70 tons, what do you get? A “witch’s brew in the ocean”


Latest from Arnie Gundersen…

  • According to TEPCO’s information: 30,000,000,000,000,000 bequerels (disintegration per second) have been released into the ocean.
  • This is probably a LOW figure.
  • Radioactive elements flowing into ocean from the plant AND is washing down from the mountains and streams 100 mi north and 100 mi south, flowing into the ocean and into fish that feed in the areas where rivers meet the sea.
  • During the first week, people in Fukushima Prefecture were exposed to 1,300 bequerels per cubic meter of Xenon-133 (*See link below to study published in Nov 2011 on Xenon-133 and caesium-137 releases)


The following comes via ENENEWS at:

Published: December 25th, 2011 at 01:23 PM EDT

Gundersen thinks melted core will get through containment and hit water (AUDIO)

Arnold Gundersen with A Fresh Report on Fukushima, If You Love This Planet, A Weekly Radio Program with Dr. Helen Caldicott, Dec. 23, 2011:

This week, Dr. Caldicott and Arnold Gundersen, a nuclear energy consultant with Fairewinds Associates, have another look at how the Fukushima disaster is affecting Japan, and how the U.S. nuclear industry continues its plans to build new plants in America. […]

Transcript Summary

At 6:15 in

  • We’re talking about 70 tons of nuclear material under reactor
  • Question is how deep did it go
  • If it began to attack in a narrow area it would form a crevice
  • If a crevice was formed it would lie in that crevice and continue to work its way downward
  • It’s now created a crater essentially
  • And it can’t be cooled from above
  • Because it sort of seals itself off at the top
  • Gradually working its way down through the concrete
  • They claim there is about 30cm left of concrete and 2 inches of steel in containment
  • Steel will melt quickly
  • It is possible that over time the core will continue to melt down and get through the nuclear containment
  • But whether or not that happen I don’t think there will be a steam explosion
  • (At 8:30 in) “I think it will drizzle out, I think it will gradually come into contact with water and solidify” as opposed to a large mass hitting the water suddenly, in which case you would get a steam explosion
  • I think the real key here is it doesn’t matter
  • The nuclear core is leaking through containment anyway
  • It doesn’t have to melt into groundwater
  • There are so many leaks in containment it is leaking into groundwater and ocean anyway
  • Therefore the plutonium and the cesium and the strontium that’s in the fuel has run throughout the entire complex anyway and is getting in the groundwater
  • China syndrome doesn’t matter because the groundwater is already contaminated because containment is leaking elsewhere.
  • Containment is so radioactive there is no way of determining where that nuclear core really is

Radiation fears spread to forest industry

Tomio Takahashi checks logs for charcoal and mushroom cultivation in Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture, after selected logs were found with high levels of radiation cesium. (Mainichi)

Tomio Takahashi checks logs for charcoal and mushroom cultivation in Shiroishi, Miyagi Prefecture, after selected logs were found with high levels of radiation cesium. (Mainichi)

SHIROISHI, Miyagi — Radiation fears stemming from the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant and radiation monitoring activities are raising concern among people handling trees to grow mushrooms and make charcoal.

Forest workers are very concerned about any potential fallout from the nuclear crisis because they have to independently monitor radiation before applying to the plant operator, Tokyo Electric Power Co. (TEPCO), for compensation, unlike farmers and fishermen who have standing in law.

Decontamination work in the mountains is said to be much more difficult than on flat land and some forest workers are considering switching jobs.

The Forestry Agency in October set a ceiling of 150 becquerels per kilogram for raw wood for mushroom cultivation and in November set limits on radioactive cesium found in firewood and charcoal for cooking at 40 becquerels and 280 becquerels, respectively.

Article continues at:

Radioactive Concrete Debris (3000 Bq/Kg) OK and Safe to Use in Fukushima Prefecture

What a wonderful present from the Japanese national government to its subjects, particularly those in Fukushima. Instead of coals it gives radioactive concrete bits.

Asahi Shinbun and others report that the Ministry of the Environment, getting bolder by the hour with its 1 trillion yen budget, has decided unilaterally that it is “safe” to use radioactive concrete bits from the March 11 quake/tsunami disaster in Fukushima as substrates under the pavement of the roads and breakwaters in Fukushima.

There will be no effect on the health of residents living nearby, assures the Ministry.

Why are they doing this? Why because they enacted the law that says the radioactive concrete debris in Fukushima to be “recycled”.

Why do they have to recycle radioactive debris? Why it’s green! Reduces CO2! Kyoto Protocol!

Article continues at:

Genkai reactor suspended, leaving 6 reactors in service in Japan

FUKUOKA (Kyodo) — Kyushu Electric Power Co. suspended operation of the No. 4 reactor at its Genkai nuclear power plant in Saga Prefecture late Sunday for a regular checkup, the utility said.

The suspension left only six among 54 commercial reactors in Japan in service in the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant triggered by the March earthquake and tsunami, with operations of all six reactors in Kyushu Electric’s service area being suspended.

Kyushu Electric has decided to ask customers to reduce their maximum power usage by more than 5 percent between Monday and Feb. 3.

The suspension of the No. 4 reactor will put the utility’s supply capacity at 14.69 million kilowatts in January against the expected maximum power demand of 14.57 million kilowatts, with the reserve rate standing at 0.8 percent, according to the utility.

The rate, however, will fall to minus 2.2 percent if electricity demand grows to the level seen a year earlier, when the area faced a hard winter, it added.

(Mainichi Japan) December 26, 2011

Fukushima accident shows need to prepare for the unexpected: panel

TOKYO, Dec. 26, Kyodo

A government panel investigating the nuclear crisis at the Fukushima Daiichi power plant said Monday the accident shows the need to prepare for unexpected events if the consequences of them happening could be disastrous, referring to the poor emergency responses by the plant operator and the government.

Releasing an interim report following some six months of investigation, the panel said that many problems related to the crisis were linked to the absence of measures to deal with severe nuclear accidents caused by tsunamis as well as the failure to assume that a nuclear crisis could occur in combination with a natural disaster.

”It cannot be denied that people who have been involved in nuclear disaster response and those in charge of managing and operating nuclear power plants have lacked the big-picture viewpoint for seeing nuclear disaster preparedness,” the report said.


Q: Do sunflowers bloom in snow?

Koriyama City, Fukushima Prefecture

*Including this report from back in November… FYI:

Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 28319-28394, 2011
© Author(s) 2011. This work is distributed
under the Creative Commons Attribution 3.0 License.

Xenon-133 and caesium-137 releases into the atmosphere from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: determination of the source term, atmospheric dispersion, and deposition

A. Stohl1, P. Seibert2, G. Wotawa3, D. Arnold2,4, J. F. Burkhart1, S. Eckhardt1, C. Tapia5, A. Vargas4, and T. J. Yasunari6
1NILU – Norwegian Institute for Air Research, Kjeller, Norway
2Institute of Meteorology, University of Natural Resources and Life Sciences, Vienna, Austria
3Central Institute for Meteorology and Geodynamics, Vienna, Austria
4Institute of Energy Technologies (INTE), Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, Spain
5Department of Physics and Nucelar Engineering (FEN),Technical University of Catalonia (UPC), Barcelona, Spain
6Universities Space Research Association, Goddard Earth Sciences and Technology and Research, Columbia, MD 21044, USA

Abstract. On 11 March 2011, an earthquake occurred about 130 km off the Pacific coast of Japan’s main island Honshu, followed by a large tsunami. The resulting loss of electric power at the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant (FD-NPP) developed into a disaster causing massive release of radioactivity into the atmosphere. In this study, we determine the emissions of two isotopes, the noble gas xenon-133 (133Xe) and the aerosol-bound caesium-137 (137Cs), which have very different release characteristics as well as behavior in the atmosphere. To determine radionuclide emissions as a function of height and time until 20 April, we made a first guess of release rates based on fuel inventories and documented accident events at the site. This first guess was subsequently improved by inverse modeling, which combined the first guess with the results of an atmospheric transport model, FLEXPART, and measurement data from several dozen stations in Japan, North America and other regions. We used both atmospheric activity concentration measurements as well as, for 137Cs, measurements of bulk deposition. Regarding 133Xe, we find a total release of 16.7 (uncertainty range 13.4–20.0) EBq, which is the largest radioactive noble gas release in history not associated with nuclear bomb testing. There is strong evidence that the first strong 133Xe release started very early, possibly immediately after the earthquake and the emergency shutdown on 11 March at 06:00 UTC. The entire noble gas inventory of reactor units 1–3 was set free into the atmosphere between 11 and 15 March 2011. For 137Cs, the inversion results give a total emission of 35.8 (23.3–50.1) PBq, or about 42% of the estimated Chernobyl emission. Our results indicate that 137Cs emissions peaked on 14–15 March but were generally high from 12 until 19 March, when they suddenly dropped by orders of magnitude exactly when spraying of water on the spent-fuel pool of unit 4 started. This indicates that emissions were not only coming from the damaged reactor cores, but also from the spent-fuel pool of unit 4 and confirms that the spraying was an effective countermeasure. We also explore the main dispersion and deposition patterns of the radioactive cloud, both regionally for Japan as well as for the entire Northern Hemisphere. While at first sight it seemed fortunate that westerly winds prevailed most of the time during the accident, a different picture emerges from our detailed analysis. Exactly during and following the period of the strongest 137Cs emissions on 14 and 15 March as well as after another period with strong emissions on 19 March, the radioactive plume was advected over Eastern Honshu Island, where precipitation deposited a large fraction of137Cs on land surfaces. The plume was also dispersed quickly over the entire Northern Hemisphere, first reaching North America on 15 March and Europe on 22 March. In general, simulated and observed concentrations of 133Xe and 137Cs both at Japanese as well as at remote sites were in good quantitative agreement with each other. Altogether, we estimate that 6.4 TBq of 137Cs, or 19% of the total fallout until 20 April, were deposited over Japanese land areas, while most of the rest fell over the North Pacific Ocean. Only 0.7 TBq, or 2% of the total fallout were deposited on land areas other than Japan.

Discussion Paper (PDF, 6457 KB)   Supplement (13 KB)   Interactive Discussion(Open, 16 Comments)   Manuscript under review for ACP

Citation: Stohl, A., Seibert, P., Wotawa, G., Arnold, D., Burkhart, J. F., Eckhardt, S., Tapia, C., Vargas, A., and Yasunari, T. J.: Xenon-133 and caesium-137 releases into the atmosphere from the Fukushima Dai-ichi nuclear power plant: determination of the source term, atmospheric dispersion, and deposition, Atmos. Chem. Phys. Discuss., 11, 28319-28394, doi:10.5194/acpd-11-28319-2011, 2011.   Bibtex   EndNote   Reference Manager    XML



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