More leaks found at crippled Japan nuclear plant
…The structural integrity of the damaged Unit 4 reactor building has long been a major concern among experts because a collapse of its spent fuel cooling pool could cause a disaster worse than the three reactor meltdowns….
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Whistle-blower “Reactor 4 is inverse pyramid, very unstable and dangerous.”
A Japanese journalist (a former secretary of Japanese prime minister) tweeted about reactor 4.
Tonight, (1/31/2012), a diet lawmaker asked me to take a contact with a Tepco manager who whistle-blew about the situation of the SFP of reactor 4. He is from an engineering department. I took contact with the whistle-blower immediately. More people are concerned about the situation of reactor 4.
He also tweeted about what he whistle-blew.
A Tepco manager from engineering department showed this map of the fifth top floor of reactor 4. This is confidential.
When 311 happened, it was in periodic checkup, large cranes or other heavy facilities were gathered too much. The weight constitution is inverse pyramid, very unstable and dangerous.
Article continues with map at:
Experts find Hamaoka Nuclear power generation more costly than thermal power or hydro
According to a independent panel of experts, power generation at Chubu Electric Power Co.’s Hamaoka nuclear plant costs more than that at itsthermal power plants. The estimated 9.78 yen per kilowatt-hour cost exceeds a minimum cost of 8.9 yen the national government has estimated for nuclear power plants.
The cost of power generation comes to an estimated 9.78 yen per kilowatt-hour for the nuclear plant in Omaezaki, Shizuoka Prefecture, compared with 9.37 yen for thermal power plants and 7.74 yen for hydroelectric power plants, according to a report released by Wednesday by the panel of the central Japan prefecture.
The estimates are based on the examination of Chubu Electric’s financial statements for the past 40 years–from fiscal 1970 to fiscal 2010.
Source: JIJI Press
The estimate for the Hamaoka plant does not include the cost of compensation in case of an accident.
The findings ratify panel findings last December when a government panel announced estimates showing that nuclear power generation costs less than thermal power generation or the use of renewable energy even after accident compensation is taken into account.
Plowing technique to fight spread of radiation demonstrated
IWAKI, Fukushima — A plowing technique being considered to fight the spread of radiation was demonstrated here on Feb. 2, though some farmers on hand were disappointed.
In the demonstration, four large machines dug up earth from around 30 centimeters deep to replace potentially contaminated topsoil and reduce the amount of radiation crops absorb from it.
According to a prefectural official, radiation readings in the field were 0.3 to 0.42 microsieverts on Feb. 1, and 0.23 to 0.3 microsieverts after the plowing. “There was an effect,” the official said.
Around 150 people including local farmers gathered to watch the demonstration. Some farmers complained, however, that “expensive machines are necessary” for the plowing technique, and that an overall decontamination plan for the city’s fields has still not been decided on.
(Mainichi Japan) February 4, 2012
Malfunction at spent nuclear fuel pool at Monju reactor
TSURUGA, Fukui — A pump at a spent nuclear fuel pool at the Monju experimental fast-breeder nuclear reactor here went offline for 22 minutes on Feb. 1, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency (JAEA) announced on Feb. 3.
The JAEA says that safety at the plant was not compromised. The pool also holds liquid sodium to cool the spent nuclear fuel, and the pump is used to cycle the coolant to and from a separate tank to filter out impurities. The JAEA says the pump went off-line due to an error by the maker during equipment replacement.
(Mainichi Japan) February 4, 2012
Bird numbers plummet around stricken Fukushima plant
Researchers working around Japan’s disabled Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant say bird populations there have begun to dwindle, in what may be a chilling harbinger of the impact of radioactive fallout on local life.
In the first major study of the impact of the world’s worst nuclear crisis in 25 years, the researchers, from Japan, the US and Denmark, said their analysis of 14 species of bird common to Fukushima and Chernobyl, the Ukrainian city which suffered a similar nuclear meltdown, showed the effect on abundance is worse in the Japanese disaster zone.
The study, published next week in the journal Environmental Pollution, suggests that its findings demonstrate “an immediate negative consequence of radiation for birds during the main breeding season [of] March [to] July”.
Two of the study’s authors have spent years working in the irradiated 2,850 sq metre zone around the Chernobyl single-reactor plant, which exploded in 1986 and showered much of Europe with caesium, strontium, plutonium and other radioactive toxins. A quarter of a century later, the region is almost devoid of people.
Timothy Mousseau and Anders Pape Moller say their research uncovered major negative effects among the bird population, including reductions in longevity and in male fertility, and birds with smaller brains.
Many species show “dramatically” elevated DNA mutation rates, developmental abnormalities and extinctions, they add, while insect life has been significantly reduced.
Scientists say contamination of ocean fish minimal so far
The massive radioactive fallout from the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has sparked fear in seafood lovers and commercial fishermen both at home and abroad, and some worry the contamination could pass through and even become more concentrated in the ocean food chain.
But more than 10 months after the three reactor meltdowns, testing of thousands of fish, including tuna, bonito and “sanma” (Pacific saury), caught far from Tohoku’s coast has turned up little contamination.
Nevertheless, experts point out that consumer concern and uncertainty will remain regarding bottom fish from coastal areas near Fukushima Prefecture, including “hirame” (Japanese flounder), as well as freshwater fish from Fukushima and parts of Gunma and Tochigi prefectures.
Radioactive materials tend to accumulate on the seabed near coasts, and they usually remain longer in the closed environment of lakes. Freshwater fish also discharge radioactive cesium slower than sea fish, experts say.
“(Contamination) levels of freshwater fish and seabed fish such as flounder haven’t declined,” says Satoshi Katayama, a professor of fisheries biology and ecology at Tohoku University.
“It’s hard to say the contamination peak among such fish has passed.”
Other than those caught near Fukushima Prefecture, no bottom feeders have been found to exceed the provisional maximum level for radioactive cesium of 500 becquerels per kilogram.
Fishermen have voluntarily stopped all commercial fishing off the Fukushima coast since March, while beach seine fishing off northern Ibaraki Prefecture was halted late last month.
Still, experts stress that close monitoring of bottom fish off Fukushima should continue because there’s no telling when contamination levels will peak.
A few samples of fish such as flounder and “ainame” (rock trout) have been found to contain radioactive cesium in excess of the 500-becquerel threshold since July. One sample of ocean bottom fish off Ibaraki Prefecture was also found to be over the limit in September.
Takashi Ishimaru, a professor of ocean science at Tokyo University of Marine Science and Technology, says contaminated plankton and waste from fish naturally sink to the seabed and are then eaten by miniscule benthos organisms, which bottom fish feed on. As a result, radioactive materials are passed up the food chain.
“Radioactive materials circulate at the bottom of the ocean. . . . It won’t be reduced easily,” he says.
Researchers have yet to obtain data on how contamination from the Fukushima No. 1 plant has spread along the sea floor, so consumers should keep a watchful eye on bottom fish, Ishimaru advises.
“There could be hot spots under the sea,” he warns. “If hot spots exist on the ocean floor, contamination levels of fish that inhabit such areas may spike.”
Meanwhile, samples of freshwater fish caught in Fukushima and Maebashi, Gunma Prefecture, have revealed high levels of contamination exceeding the government limit. Tests conducted between April 19 and Jan. 10 in Gunma on 34 freshwater fish showed that 11 caught in Lake Onuma exceeded the maximum level.
In Tochigi Prefecture, meanwhile, “ayu” (sweet fish) caught in May in the Kinugawa River near the city of Utsunomiya and the Nakagawa River near the town of Motegi contained radioactive cesium above 400 becquerels per kilogram — less than the current provisional limit but four times higher than the new limit the government will introduce in April.
Unlike sea fish that quickly discharge radioactive cesium along with salt, freshwater fish retain salt for a much longer period, says Ishimaru, the ocean science professor.
“Freshwater fish may continue to be contaminated for a longer period than sea fish,” he says.
Meanwhile, regular studies nationwide have found no alarming signs among ocean fish caught outside the coastal areas of Fukushima and Ibaraki prefectures.
According to 5,524 sampling tests conducted by the central and local governments, no ocean fish except those caught off Fukushima and Ibaraki had been found to contain radioactive cesium above 500 becquerels per kilogram as of Jan. 24.
Fish caught in southern waters should be especially safe to consume, because the Black Current (the north-northeast-flowing Kuroshio current along the Pacific coast) is preventing radioactive materials from spreading any farther south than Chiba Prefecture, experts say.
Radioactive materials off the coast of Fukushima are carried southward to Chiba by the Oyashio Current, where it meets the Black Current that pushes the isotopes away from Honshu and out into the Pacific, they say.
“The Black Current flows eastward at a very high speed. So it’s just impossible for radioactive materials to go any farther south beyond that point,” says Tohoku University’s Katayama.
Some migratory tuna and bonito, deep-ocean fish, have tested at around 10 to 20 becquerels of radioactive cesium, but the levels aren’t likely to increase because ocean contamination levels at present are barely detectable and the amount of radiation in the plankton and other materials that fish feed on has declined, according to experts.
“As for migratory fish far off the coast, I’m not too worried,” Katayama says.
Even if fish swim through the polluted waters off Fukushima, “migratory fish only stay there for a few weeks or about a month at the longest. . . . So basically, contamination levels are more likely to decline than increase,” he says.
Ishimaru, the ocean science professor, says that if a contaminated fish is put into clean water, any radioactive cesium it contains will fall by half in about 50 days as fish discharge the isotopes through their gills and in their excreta, he says.
“If it passes through polluted seawater, the fish may become contaminated to a certain level. But the radioactive materials in the seawater has been diluted and diffused,” Ishimaru says.
“As long as contamination levels of their food and seawater don’t increase, (migratory fish contamination) levels will decline.”
Fukushima I Nuke Plant: 2 Sieverts/Hr Beta Radiation from Leaked Concentrated Water After Desalination
Gamma radiation was 20 millisieverts/hour. The leak stopped when they tighten the bolt of the tank.
(Ummm… So they are not welded?)
From Nikkei Shinbun (2/3/2012):
TEPCO announced on February 3 that the water leaked from one of the contaminated water storage tanks at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant. 2,000 millisieverts/hour beta radiation was detected. The amount of the leak was small, and there was no leak into the ocean. The leak stopped when the bolt was further tightened. The radiation was then shielded with acrylic plates, and the beta radiation dropped to 15 millisieverts/hour.
The bolt may have gotten loose at the joint of a storage tank that stores the contaminated water that was condensed by the desalination apparatus (Reverse Osmosis), letting the water leak. TEPCO said a large amount of radioactive strontium might be in the water. On the concrete where the leaked water was, 22 millisieverts/hour gamma ray was also detected in addition to the beta radiation. It dropped to 1 millisievert/hour after shielding.
The Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency instructed TEPCO on February 3 to submit a report on the causes of the leaks at the plant and on the measures to be taken to prevent the leaks from occurring again.
Here’s the tank that leaked, and there are 100 more such tanks, from TEPCO (2/3/2012):
Minister of the Environment Goshi Hosono to Shimada City in Shizuoka: “Thank you for burning the debris, we’re cheering for you by drinking your tea”
This is just absolutely sickening.
Shimada City in Shizuoka Prefecture, whose mayor is deeply involved in the corruption over waste management in the city, has decided to go ahead with test burning of the disaster debris from Iwate Prefecture against fierce opposition from the city residents and citizens in neighboring cities and prefectures. The ashes after incineration will be buried in the final disposal site for regular garbage and industrial waste in the city.
To reward such an exemplary behavior, joyous Goshi Hosono, Minister of the Environment, tells the city that he has made green tea from Shimada City as the drink at the ministry.
From Jiji Tsushin (2/3/2012):
“We’re cheering for you by drinking your tea”, says Minister Hosono to Shimada City for its decision to test burn the debris
Article continues at:
Tokyo gov’t unveils transport of incinerated radioactive sludge from sewage plant
Tokyo on Feb. 2 invited reporters to see how ash from incinerated sludge — including some contaminated with radioactive substances — is shipped from a sewage plant to be buried at a disposal site outside a breakwater in Tokyo Bay.
The Tokyo Metropolitan Government started burying ash from the incinerator at Akishima in the Tama region of suburban Tokyo in late October last year. In December, it procured gear to separate air from the incinerated sludge and load it into tanker trucks. The Bureau of Sewerage then started transporting the ash from the Tamagawa Joryu Water Reclamation Center to the disposal site.
During the press tour, journalists watched the material being loaded onto the tankers. Radioactive cesium levels in the ash are apparently far below national standards at 1,000 to 2,000 becquerels per kilogram.
The Akishima sewage plant stopped shipping the ash out in May last year and subsequently built up as much as some 420 metric tons of it. The plant will be completely rid of the ash by mid-February.
A total of about 2,600 tons of incinerated sludge are held at six other sewage plants in the Tama region, and the metropolitan government will send the separation gear to those plants to move the ash to the disposal site.
(Mainichi Japan) February 4, 2012
Rice Shipment Curbs Lifted in Part of Fukushima
Fukushima, Feb. 3 (Jiji Press)–The Fukushima prefectural government lifted rice shipment curbs in part of the northern Japan prefecture Friday after its emergency survey to check radiation levels, officials said.
The prefectural government surveyed about 23,200 farmers, starting in November, after the discovery of rice contaminated with radioactive cesium exceeding a state safety limit of 500 becquerels per kilogram.
Of them, shipment curbs on 22,657 farmers in 86 areas were lifted as cesium levels were limited to 100 becquerels or less.
Of remaining farmers, shipments from nine areas have been banned by the central government after the discovery of over 500 becquerels of cesium, while 56 areas remain subject to prefectural shipment curbs after the survey found cesium levels between 100 becquerels and 500 becquerels.