Thursday 29 August 2013

IAEA assessment of Fukushima

Latest Fukushima Leaks Prompt Grim Assessment from Nuclear Agencies

27 August, 2013

The latest reports out of Japan about the leaks in the damaged Fukushima nuclear power plant are extremely troubling. On Wednesday, Japan's Nuclear Regulation Authority officially raised its assessment of the latest leaks at Fukushima to level three — the highest warning given to any incident at the plant since the three reactor meltdowns in March 2011 — labelling it a "serious incident" on the International Nuclear and Radiological Event Scale for the first time. The Nuclear Regulation Authority made a provisional upgrade last week; it then consulted with the U.N.'s International Atomic Energy Agency, which prompted the official announcement.

It's been almost 2 and a half years since a massive tsunami and earthquake hit Japan, but just last week, Tokyo Electric Power discovered that 300 metric tons of water was leaking from a storage tank and seeping into the ground. Upon further inspection, officials discovered a surge in radioactive levels at the bottom of two storage tanks at the facility. Nuclear Regulatory Authority inspectors reported the tanks were emitting radioactive levels at 100 millisieverts per hour and 70 millisieverts per hour, respectively. "One hundred millisieverts per hour is equivalent to the limit for accumulated exposure over five years for nuclear workers; so it can be said that we found a radiation level strong enough to give someone a five-year dose of radiation within one hour," Masayuki Ono, general manager of Tepco, told Reuters last week. But TEPCO's regular inspectors in charge of monitoring the tanks didn't report any changes in the water levels of the tanks, though, so there was some confusion. 
On Wednesday, regulatory officials said TEPCO has repeatedly ignored their instructions to improve their patrolling procedures to reduce the risk of overlooking leakages. They said TEPCO lacked expertise and also underestimated potential impact of the leak because underground water is shallower around the tank than the company initially told regulators.

The upshot of all this? The problems at Fukushima aren't going away anytime soon. "What's important is not the number itself but to give a basic idea about the extent of the problem," Nuclear Regulatory Authority chairman Shunichi Tanaka told reporters last night, while downplaying the severity of the situation: "I've seen reports that this is a dire situation but that's not true." Tanaka explained the biggest problem facing Fukushima is the "massive amounts of contaminated ground water reaching the sea," according to the AP. The only problem: they don't know how much is escaping, how radioactive it is, or what effect it is having on the local ecosystem. Tanaka also chastised TEPCO for its continued inept handling of every leak and crisis at the plant. "I'm baffled," he said.
This isn't the first time TEPCO has been accused of mishandling leaks, either. It's been a common criticism lobbed at the company, especially this summer, when two other major leaks were already discovered. Japan's industry minister, Toshimitsu Motegi, compared TEPCO's handling of the recurring leaks to playing "whack-a-mole" while announcing the government would play an increased role policing TEPCO's leak clean up. 

Fukushima Leak Worse than Thought, Decontamination a JOKE. Update 8/27/13

Latest Headlines:

Study: "Fuel materials" entering Pacific Ocean via drains of Fukushima Daiichi resulted in potentially serious contamination of marine environment
Japan Professor compares cesium-137 releases from radiation disasters: Fukushima at up to 77 quadrillion Bq (77 PBq); Chernobyl at 85 quadrillion Bq (85 PBq) — Fukushima releases ongoing

'The Coming Fallout': Experts now fear massive reservoir of Fukushima contamination about to reach Pacific Ocean — "Slow, seeping buildup of a second catastrophe" — Workers can't say when or how they can stop flow
Vermont Yankee closing permanently — Embattled nuclear plant will be decommissioned in 2014 when current fuel cycle ends — Had license to operate until 2032

Nuclear experts concerned about water flow "reversing" due to Fukushima underground ice plan — Even more highly radioactive liquid inside reactor buildings to enter aquifer?

Warning that foundations of Fukushima reactor chambers have been "compromised" — Groundwater rising fast, now just 10 inches from surface
Nuclear Official: Tepco made Fukushima plant into a "machine for generating radioactive water" — Runoff from molten atomic cores now in groundwater, ocean — 'Air cooling' should be used

Japan Times: Extreme contamination in Fukushima reactor buildings 'most likely' mixing into aquifer, reveals Tepco — Bloomberg: Could this flow downstream to Tokyo and present a big risk? (VIDEO)

Water with nuclear fuel coming up from ocean floor off Fukushima coast? Tokyo Professor: 156 quadrillion Bq of Cs-137 once in basements — Double Chernobyl; Getting close to total fallout from every atomic bomb test in history — May be outputting from seeps in seafloor, I don't know (VIDEO)

Nuclear Engineer: Estimated 276 quadrillion Bq of Cs-137 entered Fukushima basements — Triple Chernobyl total release — A portion "has already made its way to aquifer, whence it can easily flow into sea"

Experts: Fukushima leaks "much worse" than authorities will admit — Disturbing questions confront Japan as leader visits Middle East to push nuclear
TV: "The Japanese are part of a massive non-consensual experiment on radiation exposure" — "Everywhere now is radioactive, we can't escape it," say Fukushima locals at beach (VIDEO)

Local Gov't Official in Fukushima: "One day the world will sue Japan for this" (VIDEO)

Alaska Newspaper: Concern Fukushima nuclear waste is tainting our salmon — Worried about impact on humans — Scientists urged to conduct tests
NHK: Sinking ground at Fukushima plant may have deformed tank, leading to leak of extremely contaminated water (VIDEO)

Contamination now spiking in seawater off Fukushima plant — Asahi reports up to 18-fold increase in a week

Highly Regarded Physician: The salmon migrate through radioactive plumes coming off Fukushima, then we catch them on Canada's shores — Concerned about lack of testing — Officials "rely on Japan for test results" (VIDEO)

Nuclear Experts: Portion of Fukushima's molten fuel believed to have "moved into earth" — Melted cores contacting groundwater may be cause of recent spike in radiation levels -CTV

TV: We're talking about generations being affected by Fukushima, and also their future healthcare... How are those in charge getting away with this, time after time by just saying sorry? — What do we tell the younger generation about what happened to our ocean? (VIDEOS)

"Ultimate, worst-case scenario" underway at Fukushima? New York Times: Experts suspect intense contamination is seeping out from under melted-down reactors and into Pacific — Will surpass even the leaks from disaster's early days
Lawmaker: Declare 'State of Emergency' right away and intervene at Fukushima — Japan Professor: Issue S.O.S. now, it's really an emergency... Gov't is utterly lost, international help is needed

Gundersen: Ocean already contaminated from deluge of Fukushima toxic water — Will stop eating fish from west coast — Cesium at 1,000% normal levels in middle of Pacific

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