Day 501 Strontium 90 leaves no trace, dear, No one knows who gets the knife…

Strontium 90 levels in Kanto, Tohoku rise after Fukushima meltdowns

Strontium 90 released in the Fukushima nuclear disaster has pushed levels of the radioactive element in the Kanto and Tohoku regions higher than any recorded since between the year 2000 and the meltdowns last year, a government study released July 24 has revealed.

The nationwide airborne survey conducted by the Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology found the higher levels in 10 Kanto- and Tohoku-area prefectures (excluding Miyagi and Fukushima, where strontium 90 was detected in soil samples). The study results did not confirm whether other regions had been affected by the release of the element in the nuclear disaster.

If taken internally, strontium 90 tends to collect in the bones, though the science ministry has emphasized that the amounts detected are extremely small and present no risk to human health.

The highest strontium 90 level ever detected in the regions was 358 becquerels per square meter in Miyagi Prefecture in 1963, when both the United States and the former Soviet Union conducted regular nuclear weapons tests. The highest level found from 2000 to before the Fukushima nuclear disaster was 0.3 becquerels per square meter in Hokkaido in 2006. The highest level in the recent survey was 6 becquerels in Ibaraki Prefecture, while elevated strontium 90 amounts were also found in Gunma, Yamagata, Saitama, Iwate, Kanagawa, Chiba and Akita prefectures, as well as Tokyo.

July 25, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

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Does anyone remember the Pete Seeger song, “Mack the Bomb” (1964)? Sung to the tune of “Mack the Knife”

Eerie lyrics considering the article above and the one below these lyrics…

(Listen to a clip of it from Smithsonian Folkways at:

Mack The Bomb
Variation of Mack The Knife. AEC = Atomic Energy Commission.
Oh the shark has pretty teeth, dear,
And he shows them pearly white,
And the AEC has figures,
But it keeps them out of sight.

When the shark bites with is teeth, dear,
Scarlet billows start to spread;
Strontium 90 shows no color,
But it leaves you just as dead.

Strontium 90 leaves no clue, dear,
It’s not like thalidomide;
If the baby is deformed, dear,
You just blame the other side.

Strontium 90 leaves no trace, dear,
No one knows who gets the knife,
You can always say that background
Radiation took the life.

In your milk on Monday mornig
Comes an extra little kick,
Well, the taste is just the same, dear,
But the Geiger counters tick.

Oh, the shark has pretty teeth, dear,
And he shows them, pearly white;
And the AEC has figures,
But they keep them out of sight.
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Radioactive Strontium Was Detected in Monthly Fallout As Late As November Last Year in Chiba, Ibaraki, Ministry of Education’s Data Shows

But the Ministry of Education (MEXT) doesn’t think the strontium-90 fallout after May last year was of Fukushima origin.

Following up on the postabout strontium-90 fallout last year that MEXT (Ministry of Education and Science) announced on July 24 this year, I found some interesting data in the Japan Chemical Analysis Center where I created the chart plotting the Sr-90 fallout for the past 50 years or so in Japan (reproduced here).

The 2011 monthly fallout data for strontium-90 at the Japan Chemical Analysis Center is easier to see than the MEXT PDF file pages (they are the same data). As I was browsing through the search result, I started to wonder:

When was the last month that strontium-90 was detected in the fallout for these ten prefectures?

So here it is, from the search result at the Japan Chemical Analysis Center’s website, the last date when strontium-90 was detected in the monthly fallout in the cities/prefectures in Tohoku and Kanto in 2011:

Aomori City, Aomori: March 31
Morioka City, Iwate: September 10
Akita City, Akita: July 1
Yamagata City, Yamagata: July 1
Hitachinaka City, Ibaraki: November 1
Utsunomiya City, Tochigi: August 1
Maebashi City, Gunma: June 1
Saitama City (Sakura-ku), Saitama: August 1
Ichihara City, Chiba: November 1
Chiba City (Inage-ku), Chiba: November 1

Shinjuku-ku, Tokyo: August 1
Chigasaki City, Kanagawa: June 30

Of these results, MEXT doesn’t seem to think the detection in Aomori had anything to do with the Fukushima nuclear accident, as the prefecture is excluded from the list by MEXT in the press release (see my previous post for the MEXT list). In addition, MEXT seems to think the fallout after the first two to three months of the accident (March through May, 2011) is due not to the Fukushima accident but to the past atmospheric nuclear testing because the measured amount did not exceed the amount prior to the Fukushima accident.

Outside Kanto and Tohoku regions, there are occasional detection of strontium-90 in:

Niigata City (Nishi-ku), Niigata: May 2
Imizu City, Toyama: April 1
Kakamigahara City, Gifu: July 1
Shizuoka City (Aoi-ku), Shizuoka: August 1
Yokkaichi City, Mie: May 2
Kyoto City (Fushimi-ku), Kyoto: April 1
Wakayama City, Wakayama: November 1
Okayama City (Minami-ku), Okayama: April 1
Ishii-cho (Myozai-gun), Tokushima: April 1
Takamatsu City, Kagawa: April 1
Matsuyama City, Ehime: April 1
Kochi City, Kochi: April 1

Likewise, none of the detections above is considered by MEXT as the result of the Fukushima accident.


(more at:)

Now They Tell Us: Ministry of Education Says Strontium-90 of #Fukushima Origin Found in 10 Prefectures

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Fukushima town to conduct own study on nuclear disaster

The town of Futaba in Fukushima Prefecture will conduct its own study of the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant disaster and release its own report, the mayor told the Mainichi Shimbun on July 24.

Mayor Katsutaka Idogawa said of the national government’s final report on the disaster, “Why is it a ‘final’ report when tens of thousands of people are still evacuated and the disaster is ongoing?”

Article continues at:

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People in Shizuoka and Aichi – heads up!

Seawater inflow accident could lead to decommissioning of Hamaoka nuke reactor

An expert panel to the government will start considering whether to decommission a reactor at the Hamaoka Nuclear Power Plant in Shizuoka Prefecture after assessing possible damage from a seawater inflow accident last year, it has been learned.

The move comes after the nuclear plant operated by Chubu Electric Power Co. was suspended at the government’s request on May 14 last year out of consideration for potential quake damage. Shortly after the suspension, an estimated five metric tons of seawater gushed into the plant’s No. 5 reactor due to a malfunction.

“There are no such precedents in the world in which a large volume of seawater made its way into the reactor core,” said an official with the government’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA). “There are possibilities that nuclear fuel rods have eroded, and we need to carefully look into the repercussions (of the seawater inflow).”

The expert meeting will be convened on July 25 to determine whether the nuclear complex can be reactivated after such a large amount of seawater covered an extensive area including the No. 5 reactor. Because nuclear reactors are mainly made of metal prone to corrosion by saline matter, the No. 5 reactor may likely face decommission in the worst-case scenario.

In the wake of the nuclear disaster at the Fukushima No. 1 Nuclear Power Plant in Fukushima Prefecture in March last year, a large volume of seawater was injected to cool down its No. 1 through No. 3 reactors after freshwater ran short, leading plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Co. to later decide to decommission the reactors.

Chubu Electric, however, is reluctant to decommission the Hamaoka nuclear plant’s No. 5 reactor. “The seawater that reached the reactor had low saline concentrations, and decommission is not necessary,” said a Chubu Electric official, suggesting that the utility will only repair and replace any necessary equipment.

In the Hamaoka plant’s accident in May last year, a pipe holding coolant seawater ruptured inside a condenser, prompting the leaked seawater to circulate in the No. 5 reactor. Chubu Electric estimates that some 400 tons of seawater leaked in the facility, of which about five tons reached the reactor.

The utility has been investigating the impact of the seawater leakage on all affected equipment. In March this year, several holes believed to have been made due to corrosion were found inside a tank holding emergency coolant water for a reactor. Furthermore, screws of devices to maneuver control rods were found to be covered with rust the following month, prompting the utility to file a report with NISA. The utility will wrap up its investigation on the facility by the end of this year before drawing up a final report.

During the expert meeting on July 25, attendants will carefully review the current conditions of the No. 5 reactor based on Chubu Electric’s report to NISA. The discussion will be taken over by a nuclear regulatory commission to be launched in September, where the validity of the final report to be complied by Chubu Electric will be determined.

July 25, 2012(Mainichi Japan)

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Hokuriku Electric submits crack assessment plan

The operator of a nuclear power plant in Ishikawa Prefecture, on the Sea of Japan coast, has informed the government of its plan to probe a seam below the facility to determine whether it’s an active fault.

Hokuriku Electric Power Company submitted the plan on Wednesday to the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency, which had ordered the probe.

Last week, a government panel of experts said that the 300-meter-long crack running about 250 meters below the No.1 reactor at the Shika nuclear power plant is highly likely to be an active fault, but that further assessment is needed.

The plant’s two reactors are currently offline for regularly scheduled inspections.

The utility says it plans to start the probe next month by digging a tunnel below the reactor building to determine how long the seam runs and when the ground had shifted in the past.

The company also plans to ask experts to carry out an on-site assessment.

The results will be reported to the government after the investigation is completed in January.

On Wednesday, Kansai Electric Power Company also submitted its inspection plan to the agency. The utility will investigate a seam that runs about 900 meters from north to south between the No.2 and No.3 reactors of the Ohi nuclear power plant. The seam is at a depth of 150 meters. The company says it will report the results to the government as early as by the end of the year.

The government’s quake-resistance guidelines ban the construction of key nuclear facilities directly above an active fault. This means the reactors may never be restarted depending on the outcome of the probes.

The nuclear safety agency has ordered similar assessments of underground seams at the Tsuruga nuclear plant in Fukui Prefecture and the Higashidori plant in Aomori Prefecture.

Jul. 25, 2012 – Updated 07:53 UTC (16:53 JST)

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Gov’t allows TEPCO to raise household electricity rates 8.46%

TOKYO, July 25, Kyodo

The government on Wednesday approved a request from Tokyo Electric Power Co. to raise household electricity rates by an average 8.46 percent from Sept. 1, a move that would help the utility overcome its financial plight following the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant disaster.

The company known as TEPCO has decided to slightly revise downward the percentage of the planned rate hike from the government-requested 8.47 percent after recalculating the total costs it plans to pass on to consumers in its service area including Tokyo, a company source said.

As the government screening process on the utility’s rate hike plan has been prolonged, TEPCO said earlier in the day it now plans to receive 1 trillion yen in public funds next Tuesday, postponing the payment schedule by about a week.


Read the entire article at:


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Fukui Governor approves Ohi monitoring

The governor of Fukui prefecture has praised monitoring systems put in place when the prefecture’s Ohi nuclear power plant was restarted this month.

Article continues at:

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Tepco plans to restart Fukushima plant reactor5, 6 and Daini

Posted by Mochizuki on July 24th, 2012
Tepco is planning to restart reactor 5, 6 and Daini (12km south to Daiichi). Daini had Level 3 of INES, but still most of the facts are concealed. (cf. Fukushima Daini was submerged)

Mr. Sato from a citizen’s organization, No nukes Fukushima network [Link] stated Nishizawa, the former president of Tepco collected the subcontract companies and commented they were going to restart Fukushima Daini nuclear plant. Those subcontract companies were requested to prepare to restart Daini.

An anonymous reporter of a major newspaper company comments, Tepco included the depreciation cost of reactor5, 6 and Daini into the raised electricity bill to restart them.

Mr. Suda, a Japanese journalist [Link] analyzes it’s for the financial reason. “Tepco is relying on oil and natural gas at the moment but they are killing Tepco financially.”

Shimokobe, the chair man of Tepco and Hirose, the current president of Tepco visited Fukushima plant on 7/4/2012.

On this inspection, they appealed to the journalists. “Fukushima Daini was fully recovered. They put a lot of sandbags, the vessels can resist 15.4m of Tsunami.”

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Panel: Meltdown denials extremely inappropriate

Jiji Press

It was “extremely inappropriate” for a government nuclear regulator to first imply and then later deny possible nuclear reactor core meltdowns in the wake of the crisis at Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant, a government panel said Monday.

The panel probing Japan’s worst-ever nuclear crisis also said in its final report that “there was room to utilize” the System for Prediction of Environmental Emergency Dose Information (SPEEDI), which is designed to aid resident evacuation by predicting radiation diffusion.

Article continues at:

(h/t FukushimaDiary)
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From ENENEWS at:

Gov’t Probe: Quake may have created rupture in Fukushima reactor vessel which grew larger

Title: GOVERNMENT PROBE: Reactor cooling botched at Fukushima No. 1, but not No. 2 plant 
Source: AJW by The Asahi Shimbun
Date: July 24, 2012


the panel report did not rule out the possibility that tremors from the earthquake created a tiny rupture of 0.3 square centimeter or less, which later grew larger when the reactor temperature and pressure rose and radioactive substances leaked from there.

The Diet investigation commission’s report pointed out that a rupture of 0.3 square centimeter in the piping of a pressure vessel would not have led to immediately recognizable changes in the pressure and water level readings in the nuclear reactor, but that continued leakage of reactor coolant water from the rupture could cause an accident involving fuel damage.

But the independent investigation commission, like the government investigation committee, concluded it was unlikely that tremors from the quake caused damage.


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From ENENEWS at:

Experts assuming Reactor 2 had cracked containment vessel that allowed releases directly from melted nuclear core — Radioactive plume was blown south (VIDEO)

Title: Causes of largest radioactive leaks may be found
Date: Jul. 24, 2012 – Updated 12:35 UTC (21:35 JST)


Among the 4 reactors at the Fukushima plant, the No. 2 reactor leaked the largest amount of radioactivity according to nuclear disaster monitoring.

Researchers from the University of Tokyo, the Japan Atomic Energy Agency and other experts have examined the crisis response log at the reactor facility.


They found radiation levels rose sharply 3 times at monitoring posts 10 kilometers south of the plant over a period of 5 hours during the night of March 14th.

These rises came 1 hour after each time workers at the No. 2 reactor released steam from the core to lower its pressure. The plant employees did so to protect the reactor.

But it is believed that by that time the nuclear fuel in the core had already melted down and its containment vessel was also full of radioactive substances.

The experts assume that the radioactive plume escaped from cracks in the containment vessel after steam was released from the core. It was carried south by the wind.

They say the amount of the radioactivity leaked from the No. 2 reactor was 10 to 20 times higher than other reactors, following their hydrogen explosions.


If No. 2′s radioactive release was “10 to 20 times higher than other reactors, following their hydrogen explosions”…

And if the radioactive plume from No. 2 “was carried south by the wind”…

How did 80% of the radioactivity get blown east over the Pacific?


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