Day 383 Around 30,000 workers per year X decades = from where???!!!!

Fukushima One Year On: Nuclear workers and citizens at risk

An interview with Paul Jobin

Could you summarize the policies towards radiation protection in Fukushima, and what characterizes the current situation, one year after the nuclear disaster?

Even before the disaster, TEPCO (Tokyo Electric Power Company) employed a large pool of workers in order not to exceed the annual quota of radiation per person. The latest statistics from TEPCO (dated November 30, 2011) reported 3,745 workers on the site in March (about 1700 TEPCO employees and 2,000 subcontractors), and 14,000 for the time from April to October. The overwhelming majority of the latter, more than 12,400, were subcontractors. These figures, already substantial, might not take into account level 5 to 8 subcontractors who perform the tasks that are the most directly exposed to ionizing radiation.


In the absence of a report by TEPCO or the Japanese government on the numbers of workers at Fukushima Daiichi, we estimate that around 30,000 workers have been exposed to significant levels of radiation, some for a few days, many for more than one month. And there will be many more as the cleanup continues in the years ahead. Because, contrary to what Prime Minister Noda said on December 16, the reactors are far from “cold shut down”.


What defines the urgency and the gravity of the situation?

This is a never-ending question. I interviewed the deputy head of the emergency response unit of the IRSN (French Institute for Radiological Protection and Nuclear Safety), who was sent to the French embassy in Japan on March 12, 2011. He commented that at that time, the major challenge was to save the storage pools of used fuel rods from meltdown. This was even more vital than saving the reactors, since if the fuel rods in the pools melt, they would produce radioactivity levels that could not be measured in hundreds of millisieverts but would need to be measured in hundreds or thousands of sieverts! In that case, TEPCO would have been unable to intervene by sending in workers. It would lose complete control of the site. The result might then be something like a Godzilla movie, an apocalyptic scenario. As a recent‘independent’ report suggests, at the very least, Tokyo should have been evacuated.7 I doubt the authors’ independence because they focus their criticism on Prime Minister Kan Naoto, avoiding discussion of the responsibility of the nuclear industry lobby, which, unlike the former Prime Minister, is still very active. Nevertheless, the report confirms that the tremendous risk posed by the nuclear meltdown, is indeed far “beyond expectations”. The storage pools, in particular those of reactor no 4, might not survive another significant seismic event, as nuclear scientist Koide Hiroaki made crystal clear in a March 9, 2012 interview with Asahi Television.8
In short, if the nuclear “risk managers” themselves tell us that the industry’s risk exceeds the probability calculations, a risk so great that they do not even want to think about it, we had better take their word for it.

Read the entire article at:

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Still critical: radiation levels at Fukushima can kill in minutes

Latest readings from tsunami-stricken nuclear plant overturn claims that reactors have been made safe

by David McNeill

A lethal level of radiation has been detected inside one of the reactors at the Fukushima nuclear power plant, throwing fresh doubts over the operator’s claims that the disabled complex is under control.

Engineers for Tokyo Electric Power Co (Tepco) say readings of airborne radiation inside the containment vessel of Reactor 2 showed nearly 73 sieverts per hour this week, the highest since the crisis began following the earthquake and tsunami on 11 March last year. Exposure to radiation at that level is deadly within minutes, according to Japan’s public broadcaster, NHK.

Tepco said the find would have “no impact” on the company’s long-term plans to decommission the plant’s six reactors. “We were not surprised that the radiation was this high because the reading was taken from inside the pressure vessel,”a spokesperson said.

Tepco announced in December that the Daiichi complex had achieved a state of cold shutdown, meaning that radiation emissions are under control and the temperature of its 260 tons of nuclear fuel has stabilised below boiling point. The company plans to remove the fuel and dismantle the plant’s steel and concrete structure – a task it estimates will take decades.

But engineers have only a rough idea of where the melted fuel inside three of the six reactors is, or how badly it has corroded the base of the reactors and their containment vessels.

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JNST: “A scenario of large amount of radioactive materials discharge to the air from the Unit 2 reactor in the Fukushima Daiichi NPP accident”

 Journal of Nuclear Science and Technology has a paper by Fumiya Tanabe of Sociotechnical Systems Safety Research Institute published online on March 28, 2012.

Tanabe is the one who said last August that there was a second “meltdown” in Reactor 3 on March 20-21, in which the melted fuel dropped through the Reactor Pressure Vessel onto the floor of the Containment Vessel, releasing a large amount of radioactive materials that caused the spikes in radiation levels in wide areas in Tohoku and Kanto.

In November last year (11/19/2011), he also disclosed his analysis of the Reactor 2 Suppression Chamber, and concluded that it may have been damaged by the earthquake. This paper looks to be that analysis, now peer reviewed and published.

The paper was received on December 9, 2011, accepted final version for publication on January 24, 2012.

So it is possible to disclose the outline of the analysis before submitting the paper to a peer-reviewed magazine, and the magazine has no problem accepting and publishing the paper. (All those researchers in Japan and elsewhere in the world who withheld their data, analysis, research until their papers were published by peer-review magazines, what would you say now?)

Article continues at:

Good comments afterwards as well.

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TEPCO seeks additional public money injection

The operator of the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant has asked for more public funds from a government-backed entity to avoid negative net worth and to compensate the victims of the nuclear crisis at the facility.

Tokyo Electric Power Company, or TEPCO, on Thursday asked the entity set up to help compensate the victims for one trillion yen, or over 12 billion dollars, for capital reinforcement. The utility also requested about 10 billion dollars to bolster its reserves for compensation.

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Reactor 2 radiation too high for access

73 sieverts laid to low water; level will even cripple robots

Staff writer

Radiation inside the reactor 2 containment vessel at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear plant has reached a lethal 73 sieverts per hour and any attempt to send robots in to accurately gauge the situation will require them to have greater resistance than currently available, experts said Wednesday.

Exposure to 73 sieverts for a minute would cause nausea and seven minutes would cause death within a month, Tokyo Electric Power Co. said.

The experts said the high radiation level is due to the shallow level of coolant water — 60 cm — in the containment vessel, which Tepco said in January was believed to be 4 meters deep. Tepco has only peeked inside the reactor 2 containment vessel. It has few clues as to the status of reactors 1 and 3, which also suffered meltdowns, because there is no access to their insides.

Article continues at:

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Fukushima town seeks long-term designation as no-go zone

A Fukushima Prefecture town affected by the ongoing nuclear crisis is set to ask the national government to designate the whole town as a zone where residents will unlikely be able to return in the foreseeable future.

Okuma Mayor Toshitsuna Watanabe announced the plan during a session of the municipal assembly held at the temporary town office in Aizuwakamatsu, Fukushima Prefecture, on March 28. Okuma will be the first municipality in nuclear disaster-hit areas to ask that its entire area be designated as such.

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Why do I find this next story so difficult to comprehend. Why is it hard to put these words in one sentence: Japan, test, school lunches, cesium? Sounds like something out of a bad 1950s propaganda film, not the country where I live in 2012. How have we allowed this to happen? What can we do to stop it from happening again? (Is that what people near TMI and Chernobyl said, as well?)

44 Japanese municipalities test school lunches for cesium

TOKYO (Kyodo) — A recent Kyodo News survey has found that 44 of 74 major Japanese municipalities are testing school lunches or their contents for radioactive cesium amid fears of radioactive contamination following the March 2011 Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant accident.

In 17 eastern Japan prefectures, including Fukushima, where the central government requires food products to be tested before shipment, 34 of 42 municipalities covered by the survey are conducting such tests. In the other prefectures, similar tests are undertaken in 10 out of 32 cities.

The survey conducted between March 16 and 22 covered school boards of the 74 major municipalities including the country’s prefectural capitals and Tokyo’s 23 wards. Municipal governments are left free to decide whether to test school lunches.

Forty-four of the 74 survey targets test school lunches or their materials in various ways.

Article continues at:

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18,700 Bq/Kg from fish in Iidate mura

Posted by Mochizuki on March 28th, 2012

Following up this article..Fukushima local gov is dumping radioactive mud from decontamination to Abukuma river

18,700 Bq/Kg of cesium was measured from trout caught in Niidagawa of Iidate mura, Fukushima prefectural government reported on 3/28/2012. This is the highest reading among all the fish caught from sea and river.
The former highest reading was 14,400 Bq/kg from young lancefish, caught offshore of Iwaki shi last April.

They fished this for a test before lifting the restriction of fishing trout.
Additionally, On 3/23/2012, Ibaraki prefectural government reported they measured cesium from 77 of 87 samples (88%) of fish caught from 3/8~3/21 offshore Ibaraki. (0.7~218 Bq/Kg)

With this test, bass (218 Bq/Kg) and blowfish (111 Bq/Kg) were newly added to the list.

Source 1 2



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90% of companies oppose TEPCO’s rate hike


Nearly 90 percent of companies oppose Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s planned rate increase, but the higher charges will be imposed as scheduled, the utility said on March 27.

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Disaster Debris Wide-Area Disposal: Tokyo Univ. Students to the Rescue with the Help from Largest Ad Agency in Japan

 Students at the prestigious (at least hard to get in) Tokyo University have formed a group called “Project to Think About 3.11 Debris”. The group held a public symposium on March 28 on the Tokyo University Komaba campus, co-sponsored by Jiji Tsushin and others with “special support” from the Ministry of the Environment.

Their message: More information disclosure from the national government should help; there is a “silent majority” who would gladly accept disaster debris.

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