Day 381 Where has all the water gone, long time passing?

Industry body opposed boosting nuke disaster prevention steps before Fukushima crisis

The Federation of Electric Power Companies of Japan (FEPC) had told the government’s Nuclear Safety Commission (NSC) in writing that it would oppose any plans to step up preventative measures against nuclear accidents shortly before the outbreak on March 11, 2011, of the crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant, according to documents obtained by the Mainichi through information disclosure laws.

The FEPC, which groups 10 power companies in the country, said in written documents addressed to the NSC that it would stand against the government body’s move to strengthen the country’s preventative measures against nuclear accidents because such plans would give the impression that nuclear power was dangerous and affect the regions hosting nuclear power plants accordingly, as well as push up costs for such measures. The revelation shows that the utility firms in the country downplayed preventative measures against nuclear accidents.

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From a post on the Safecast listserv:
      Kenichi Ohmae, an ex Hitachi reactor designer with a Ph.D in nuclear engineering from MIT, was the first in Japan, about a week after the March 11 events, to publicly state the likelihood of meltdown in three of the Fukushima Dai-ichi reactors in his regular internet broadcasted program that I followed throughout the nuclear crisis. Prime Minister Kan consulted with Ohmae in March and April 2011.
      When Ohmae visited Kan on March 29, 2011 he said: The hydrogen explosion blowing off the upper part of the reactor building indicates that the core has already melted, which means that all of the zirconium alloys has melted, and thereby created hydrogen. Black smoke rising after the explosion means that the core had already melted through the bottom of the RPV and the PCV and reached the man made rock in the basement of the reactor building. Anyone engaged in reactor design should be able to tell that at first sight and the public should immediately be informed of this situation.
      At this point in time there was no report in Japan’s mainstream media neither on the meltdown nor on the release of large amounts of radiation.
      After talking with Ohmae, Kan confronted the NSC officers and NISA personnel who did not admit that meltdown had occurred until two months later.
      In June Ohmae proposed to the Government that he conduct an unofficial investigation into the accident and submitted his report to Hosono, the Minister in charge of the nuclear power accident in December 27. During his investigation he got hold of printed material created 40 years earlier by Tepco and government agencies that details how they convinced the Fukushima people into accepting construction of the nuclear power plants. This material made him realise that the government has covered up a large amount of important information and provided an erroneous explanation of nuclear power to the public. The material was full of lies, and he thinks that these lies should be challenged and addressed before resuming operation of power plants at other locations.
      One thing that gave him a glimmer of hope was that the nuclear power industry employees of Hitachi, Toshiba, Mitsubishi, Tepco, and Kansai Electric Power Company that he interviewed all had surprisingly accurate understanding of what really had happened in the accident. He realized that they have deeply reflected and learnt many lessons from the Fukushima Dai-ichi accident. This is despite the fact that information passed on to the public had been manipulated.
      Kenichi Ohmae’s essay in Nikkei BP March 20, 2012:

Water level of Fukushima No. 2 reactor only 60 cm above bottom

TOKYO (Kyodo) — The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant on Monday found that the water level in the No. 2 reactor’s primary containment vessel was only 60 centimeters deep when it checked the interior of the crippled reactor using an endoscope.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. spokesman Junichi Matsumoto gave assurances that the melted fuel inside the No. 2 reactor remains cooled through continuous water injection, as the water temperature in the vessel was 48.5 C to 50 C.

But he acknowledged that the lower-than-expected water level suggests that a large portion of the injected water is leaking from the primary containment vessel, possibly via the damaged suppression pool that is linked to the reactor.


TEPCO also said Monday that about 120 tons of water containing radioactive substances leaked from the water circulation system involved in cooling the Nos. 1 to 3 reactors.

Of the leaked water, which is believed to contain radioactive strontium, 80 liters leaked out into the Pacific Ocean. The concentration level is about 140,000 becqueruels per cubic centimeter, the company said.

Read the entire article at:
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Fukushima I Nuke Plant Reactor 2: Water Is Only 60-Centimeter Deep in the Containment Vessel

TEPCO did the second endoscopic examination of Reactor 2 Containment Vessel on March 26, 2012, and finally found water. It was 3 meters below where TEPCO had expected to find (which was at the grating), and only 60 centimeters deep from the bottom of the CV.

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1.4×10^11 Bq/m3 of beta nuclides leaked to domestic sewage system

Posted by Mochizuki on March 26th, 2012

At 8:30 on 3/26/2012, a subcontract worker found water leakage at concentrated water tank area.
It was from the pipe to carry concentrated water from desalination facility to concentrated water tank.

At 8:50, they stopped the pump of the desalination facility so water leakage was stopped.

The leaked water flowed to the sea through the near drainage of domestic sewage system.

It is assumed that the leakage started at 5:00, it was 120 tones in total. At least 80 L has leaked to the sea.

Because the water purifying system can’t filter beta nuclides such as strontium, it contains 1.4×10^11 Bq/m3 of total beta nuclides.

Gamma nuclides leakage

  • Cesium 134  4.1×10^6 Bq/m3
  • Cesium 137  6.3×10^6 Bq/m3
  • Sb 125  8.1×10^7 Bq/m3
Article continues with photos at:
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Leak from the Pipe after Reverse Osmosis (Desalination) Treatment: 120 Tonnes, 80 Liters May Have Flowed into Ocean

 According to Yomiuri Shinbun (3/26/2012), 120 tonnes of the concentrated, contaminated water after the reverse osmosis treatment had leaked from 5:30AM to 8:30PM when a worker noticed the leak and stopped the treatment. 80 liters of this water which contained 140,000 becquerels per cubic centimeter of all beta nuclides including radioactive strontium may have leaked into the ocean, as evidenced by the elevated radioactivity in the sea water at the southern exhaust water drain.

No word on tritium in the Yomiuri article.

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Fukushima No. 2 reactor radiation level up to 73 sieverts per hour

TOKYO, March 27, Kyodo

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant said Tuesday that the radiation level inside the crippled No. 2 reactor stood at an extremely high level between 31.1 and 72.9 sieverts per hour, underscoring the existence of radioactive substances from the melted fuel inside the structure.

Tokyo Electric Power Co. measured the radiation level by inserting a long dosimeter into the round-bottomed, flask-shaped primary containment vessel, where fuel is thought to be accumulating at the bottom following the nuclear accident last year.

The highest radiation level was measured at about 4 meters from the bottom and about 1 meter away from the vessel’s interior wall.

Read the entire article at:

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Nuclear safety agency to brief nearby prefectures

Japan’s nuclear safety agency is to give its first briefing on reactor stress tests to prefectures that have no nuclear plants.

The government’s Nuclear Safety Commission last Friday endorsed the results of initial stress tests on the idled No.3 and No.4 reactors at Ohi nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture. The 2 reactors have been halted for routine inspections.

The endorsement moves procedures forward for their reactivation. It’s now up to the government to decide whether to restart the reactors, after winning acceptance from local residents.

But it’s not only people in Fukui who are worried about a resumption of operations at the reactors. The adjacent prefectures of Kyoto and Shiga, which would be affected in the event of a nuclear accident, are also demanding explanations on the stress tests and safety measures at the plant.

Officials from the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency are to visit the 2 prefectures on Thursday to explain to governors that the Ohi plant is safe to be restarted.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 16:21 +0900 (JST)

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A few days back, I posted a couple of maps showing high radiation levels around Fukushima Daini (pronunciation is “die-knee”). Apparently, there have been higher levels:

from ENENEWS at:

New Tepco Survey: Most contaminated location is near Fukushima Daini, not Daiichi (MAP)

Title:  Additional nuclide analysis results of ocean soil
Source: Tepco
Date: March 26, 2012


See location 20

  • Cs-134 @ 620 Bq/kg
  • Cs-137 @ 840 Bq/kg

Survey Result Map on Nuclide Analysis of Ocean Soil within 20 km
Radius Area from Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station

Read the report here

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Fairewinds’ Gundersen Scrapes Soil in Tokyo, Says It’s Like Picking Flowers in “Radioactive Waste”

Enenews (3/25/2012) has a post featuring the recent video by A. Gundersen of Fairewinds Associates telling the viewers how he collected soil samples in Tokyo on his recent trip there and found them to be “radioactive wastes” by the US standard.

There is a screen capture from the video at Enenews, showing the result of the soil analysis.

For the Sample NO.1 (Shibuya-ku), the table shows:

cesium-134: 137 pCi/g or 5.069 Bq/g, (or 5069 Bq/kg)
cesium-137: 167 pCi/g or 6.179 Bq/g, (or 6179 Bq/kg)
(cesium total: 11,248 Bq/kg)
cobalt-60: 40 pCi/g or 1.48 Bq/g, (or 1480 Bq/kg)

1 picocurie (pCi) is 0.037 becquerel (Bq).

Now these numbers are way out of line from anything I’ve seen in the radioactivity measurements of the soil done in Tokyo metropolitan areas for radioactive cesium (no info about cobalt-60, as the nuclide has never been measured by the authorities), unless you measure the rooftop sediments or the dirt near the gutters or the side of the road. So I watched the video.

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News photo
Survival knowledge: Fourth-graders discuss the health effects of radiation exposure at Akagi Elementary School in Koriyama, Fukushima Prefecture, on Feb. 21.MIZUHO AOKI PHOTOS

Children taught radiation studies

Nuke education now compulsory subject in schools in Fukushima

Staff writer

KORIYAMA, Fukushima Pref. — A group of elementary school students in Koriyama, about 60 km from the crippled Fukushima No. 1 plant, may only be 10 years old, but they possibly know more about radiation than fourth-graders anywhere in the world.

After a year of study at Akagi Elementary School in Fukushima Prefecture, the 28 students in Tomoyuki Bannai’s class can now explain the difference between alpha, beta and gamma rays. They know alpha rays are dangerous in terms of internal exposure to radiation and that gamma rays pose the biggest threat for external exposure.

“I believe my class of fourth-graders is probably the best in the world in terms of radiation education,” Bannai, 43, told The Japan Times in late February.

“Children, who are more vulnerable to radiation exposure, are the ones who need to gain a thorough understanding,” he said. “I want them to have the ability to select the right information when so many different data exist.

“And I want them to be smart enough to think for themselves based on such information.”

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School books to contain articles on the disaster

High school students in Japan will use textbooks with material related to the March 11th disaster starting in April next year.

An education ministry council finished screening 275 textbooks on Monday. All but one passed after making revisions based on the council’s recommendations.

53 textbooks in 8 courses contained articles and pictures on the disaster and the Fukushima nuclear accident. The courses are wide-ranging and include geography, history, and physics.

A geography textbook has pictures of the damages caused by the tsunami, nuclear accident and soil liquefaction after the quake.

A physics textbook explains the nuclear fuel meltdown at the Fukushima plant.

The textbooks that passed the screening will go into circulation in May. High schools will then select their textbooks and local education boards will make the final choice.

Tuesday, March 27, 2012 19:20 +0900 (JST)

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Vastly Different Point of View: “Let’s All Eat Tohoku Vegetables and Food to Support the Recovery” If You Are Old or Not Having Children!

tweet of a person in Japan, an exemplary citizen who should be praised by the national government and by people like Hiroaki Koide:


Let’s eat vegetables and food from Tokyo, if you are old or if you don’t plan to have children! I was exposed to 9 millisievert radiation the other day in a medical test. No big deal. Those who can, let’s all support the recovery of Tohoku.

Gresham’s law. After one year, there are people who still refuse to learn about the difference between the targeted, and supervised and brief high-dose radiation exposure during the medical procedures for diagnosis or treatment and chronic, overall, and uncontrolled low-dose internal and external radiation exposure.

Even the farmers in Fukushima refuse to eat what they grow.

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Scientists to study mechanism of Tohoku earthquake

Researchers are set to launch a project to find the mechanism of the March 11 earthquake.

The Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology, or JAMSTEC, said the deep sea scientific drilling vessel, the Chikyu, will embark on Sunday. Chikyu means “earth” in Japanese.

Researchers from JAMSTEC, Kyoto University and around the world will be on board to study the seabed 220 kilometers off the Oshika Peninsula, Miyagi Prefecture.

Slippage on the fault in the area reached 50 meters at the time of the earthquake.

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More today on the Boso faults story from:

Threatening, active faults found off Boso

Dual jolt could trigger Tokyo temblor up to magnitude 9


Two previously unknown active faults were found off the Boso Peninsula in Chiba Prefecture, with one researcher warning that a jolt in the two faults at the same time could trigger an earthquake of magnitude 8 to 9.

The two faults, one at least 160 km long and the other more than 300 km, were found on the floor of the Pacific Ocean around 100 to 200 km southeast of the southern tip of the peninsula, according to a group of researchers from Hiroshima University, Nagoya University, the Japan Agency for Marine-Earth Science and Technology and other parties.

“The faults have been unmarked and uninvestigated. There is a possibility of strong jolts and tsunami reaching the southern Kanto region (including Tokyo) and the Tokai region (central Honshu). It should be promptly investigated in detail,” said research group member Mitsuhisa Watanabe, a professor at Toyo University.

The group will report its findings at a Thursday meeting of the Association of Japanese Geographers in Tokyo.

The group used a bathymetric chart made by the Japan Coast Guard to analyze the geography of the seafloor in detail. It then estimated the location of the active faults by taking into consideration cliffs formed by earthquakes and other elevated features.

According to Watanabe, the two faults were found near a “triple junction,” a point where the boundaries of two oceanic plates and a continental plate meet.

Both north-south faults run parallel. The longer fault to the east has a cliff with a height of more than 2,000 meters, while the other one has a cliff more than 3,000 meters high formed by earthquakes, indicating the high possibility that both have repeatedly caused big quakes, he said.

North of the two faults is a focal region for the 1677 temblor, which had an estimated magnitude of 8.0, and the magnitude 7.4 quake that hit in 1953. But the faults seem unrelated to the two quakes, which were likely caused by movement of another active fault, Watanabe said, adding the past movements of the two faults remain unknown.

Active faults have previously been seen as having little connection to earthquakes that occur near ocean trenches. But the same group confirmed last year the existence of a 500-km active fault on the ocean floor along the Japan Trench, which is believed to have moved when the massive earthquake and tsunami disaster hit the Tohoku region last March.

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Japan in Uproar Over Censorship of Emperor’s Anti-Nuclear Speech

MAR 26 2012, 8:46 AM ET

Why did Japanese TV channels cut Emperor Akihito’s address on the one-year anniversary of the Fukushima crisis?

Japan’s Emperor Akihito speaks as Empress Michiko looks on at the Imperial Palace in Tokyo / APThere is a particularly sensitive accusation reverberating through online discussion boards and social media in Japan: that Emperor Akihito’s speech on the one year anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami was censored on TV for his comments about the nuclear disaster at Fukushima.

The 78-year-old Emperor Akihito had insisted on attending the memorial service, though he had been released from the hospital for heart bypass surgery less than a week earlier. While the emperor is technically just a figurehead, he is still deeply revered here. Many Japanese see him a source of guidance in times of political difficulty, which have been many in the last 20 years. His speech was highly anticipated. Unlike Prime Minister Noda, who never mentioned the nuclear crisis in his speech on the anniversary, the Emperor addressed it directly.

As this earthquake and tsunami caused the nuclear power plant accident, those living in areas designated as the danger zone lost their homes and livelihoods and had to leave the places they used to live. In order for them to live there again safely, we have to overcome the problem of radioactive contamination, which is a formidable task.

While this statement may seem more obvious than radical to outsiders, underneath the Imperial-grade Japanese understatement were two ideas that have become quietly explosive. First, he seemed to suggest that the nuclear crisis is not over, a “formidable task” yet to be overcome. This noticeably contradicts the government’s official stance that Fukushima has achieved a cold shutdown and, for all practical purposes, the crisis is over.  Second, it implies that it is not yet safe for people to return to areas stricken with high levels of radiation, at least not before the “formidable task” is “overcome.” This, again, contradicts the government’s position that it is now safe for people to return to almost all areas and that neither Tokyo Electric Power Company nor the national government are obliged to assist in long term evacuations.

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NRC Transcript from 3/12/2011: 40 GE Engineers at Fukushima I Nuke Plant, 4 Were Contaminated

Enformable (2/28/2012) has a link to the official transcript of NRC’s meeting (audio file) on March 12, 2011. In the transcript, I found a mention of GE engineers who were at Fukushima I Nuclear Power Plant when the earthquake and tsunami hit on March 11, 2011.

From the official transcript of teleconferences at NRC on March 12, 2011 (pages 162 and 163):

MR. McDERMOTT: There is one other nugget of information, people might know people.

There were 40 individuals from GE that were actually asked, at this facility, taking part in the refueling of the three units. We understand that out of the 40 people, four were contaminated, but the State Department and GE are working to pull them back to Tokyo and to get them whatever assistance they need to get back to the States.

So the person interviewed by PBS the other day was a GE engineer.

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