Fukushima Open Thread - 2nd April

Not a lot of new news to report today but some interesting and valuable new data from the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) and high resolution photographic resources have come to light that are linked below.

Main news today is that a crack caused by earthquake damage is leaking highly radioactive water into the sea. Note the clear blue sky in the picture I assume was taken on 1st or 2nd of April. BBC weather shows high pressure building and moving over Japan in the coming days. With winds that seem to have been blowing offshore since the event 3 weeks ago, it will be interesting to see how onshore radiation levels evolve in the coming week.

Leak found in reactor pit, story and picture from Reuters.

IAEA slide shows

Radiological monitoring and consequences.

Comments invited on slides 5 and 6. My take would be a change in wind direction resulting in higher deposition onshore. Is 500 to 1400 Bq/2m per day a cause for concern?

Marine environment monitoring

Summary of reactor status

Similar to the JAIF reports:

Water level in Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV): around half of fuel is uncovered.
Spent fuel pools: Fuel pool cooling lines operational in units 2 to 4!

Photographic resources

High resolution photographs from Cryptom.

Analysis of photographic evidence by Chris Martenson at Zerohedge

Hat tips to biffvernon and SharkMan.

I'd be particularly interested to hear expert opinion on the radioactive material deposition levels with respect to the prevailing wind and precipitation.

I am still waiting to hear comments, cause obviously we don't know why, they are not measuring strontium 90 in the contamination? or tritium?

Strontium has much higher melting and boiling temperatures than say iodine and caesium. Likely there is some about though I would think.


according to this site they have not released what they are measuring. so maybe there is and maybe there isn't strontium -90 in the sea.

New analysis of radioactive emissions

Fact checking and comments are appreciated. Thanks.

At Fukushima Daiichi, each of the eight 'hot spots' in Units 1-4 has undergone a unique sequence of damage, including loss of coolant and resulting heating

Seven 'hot spots', not eight? Unless the "core load" removed from number 4 is counted at the eigth.

The article needs references, so we can see where the 20 kg figure for Chernobyl came from, for example. Circa 2400 kg of Cesium? Some tables would help also.

90Sr is a product of nuclear fission. It is present in significant amount in spent nuclear fuel and in radioactive waste from nuclear reactors and in nuclear fallout from nuclear tests. For thermal neutron fission as in today's nuclear power plants, the fission product yield from U-235 is 5.8%, from U-233 6.8%, but from Pu-239 only 2.1%.
from your link - Together with strontium, cesium produces most of the decay heat over a long period after a core is shut down.
Strontium is a grey, silvery metal that is softer than calcium and even more reactive in water, with which it reacts on contact to produce strontium hydroxide and hydrogen gas.
freshly exposed strontium metal rapidly turns a yellowish color with the formation of the oxide. there were reports of yellow rain in Toykyo as there was yellow rain near Gomel during Chernobyl - both being initially claimed to be pollen induced.
Melting point 1050 K, 777 °C, 1431 °F
Boiling point 1655 K, 1382 °C, 2520 °F

I would like to see the radiation contamination reports with SR90 ND -not detected - is it just not being looked for?

Yellow Rain:
Could be bees:
"Yellow rain falls often in southeast Asia and and is believed to be caused by the excrement of wild honeybees contaminated by a fungal toxin." On March 27:

Strontium 90:
Accumulations in baby teeth used for survey.
Strontium price takes dive: too much free in air:
http://shareprices.com/detail?chart_time_period=1_month&movingaveragetyp... oh, it's the 2nd,is it... oops.

The Marshal Islands:
Living and Dying Downwind: Radiation, Japan and the Marshall Islands
"talking fish" [what the Japanese called the clicking sound of the contaminated fish being monitored]
"Strontium-90 has a half life of twenty-eight years, is a chemical analog of calcium and is known as a "bone seeker." Rongelap and the other downwind atolls have residual Sr-90 in their soils, groundwater and marine ecosystems."
"Radioactive Iodine-129 with a half-life of 15 million years and a well-documented capacity to bioaccumulate in the foodchain, will also remain as a persistent problem for the affected Japanese."
"The dangers of radioactive fallout from Bravo inspired Nevil Shute's classic nuclear dystopia On the Beach, as well as Godzilla."

"Japanese friends! Where are your strontium-90 levels of food and water and air?"
"Strontium-90 is the worst radioactive chemical in fallout other than plutonium-239."
"Soils in the tested areas of Japan are 201 times worse than some of the still-radioactive areas of Southern Utah according to data on the highest level of Cesium-137 sampled by a Utah graduate student for a 2008 thesis..."
"...Rongelap Island, again, one of the most radioactive inhabited areas of the world!"
So, there are lots of radio-actives about before the Fukushima events.
Here is the google cached version:
Here is the direct link:
But, gosh, it doesn't work today.

If it is yellow rain from strontium
and it is made secret ...really ugly.

Interesting about the Strontium 90. From the Twilight Zone '60's series. Mentioned at 0:05 and 3:30 time marks. Where I first heard of strontium 90.
Strontium-90 is supposedly the contaminant in the food which kills everyone in town except the town leader in the The Old Man in the Cave episode of The Twilight Zone.
From the article: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Strontium_90

Good show!

I've got the whole collection somewhere. Never posted anything to youtube but have an account...could try posting if anybody interested...isn't it 10min max so you have to split them up?

late edit: just found it and now i'm seeing that you already had a youtube link to it... I may have to go ahead polish off the ones I haven't seen.

Although technically it was bizarre, the "food" was canned goods from before the war. No way radiological stuff could have got into them. But then mist zones didn't follow sound science, but was still great mind-bending stuff.

The clear lesson to be learned is to protect your back-up generators at all costs.

The clear lesson to be learned is to protect your back-up generators at all costs.

... and Pipes, and pumps, and cables, and seals, ....

There are countless failure nodes, that are being bundled into the 'backup failure' because that is simpler to say.

no no...it didn't appear that the old man in the cave was using any pipes or pumps or seals...??? but i dunno...

Yes, there was failure in the design of the secondary power, but I suspect in more than one way.
And it's far from obvious that the plant survived the earthquake.

Although technically it was bizarre, the "food" was canned goods from before the war.
"There is enough poison in those cans to kill us all in ten days. Most of it was canned after them bomb we have no idea where it came from." Time index 2:10 . http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=mAt2tII3mPk&feature=related

Did you notice what the starving people did when the guy discovered the booze...?

edit: The starving people, holding cans of questionable food, had just been convinced that the food was OK to eat...and as they were tearing open the rusty old cans, a man comes out of the abandoned town saloon carry an armful of liquor and yelling "look what i found"...to which the starving people ALL dropped their cans of food and rushed for the booze... good stuff...

Thanks for that. Sooo good to see Jimmy. Only thing we have with him is some dog racing (Disney?) flick when he is getting way up there, but he does flash that incredible smile for us in it one last time. Great performance he gave Rod in this one.

What's really bizarre is that I hadn't seen it before and started it up and the opening shot is of a horse harnessed to a 1962 Austin Healey Sprite MkII, and pulling it down the main street. That was my first car! My dad and I restored it during my 15th year...mine was actually called a 1961.5 MkII because it used rear tear-drop bumpers and other left-over inventory from the MkI Bugeye.

Not sure why strontium gets such a reputation.
It is absorbed as a calcium substitute so it is potentially a risk, but cesium is equally well absorbed and just as persistent and dangerous.
Strontium is harder to mobilize, because of its high melting point, whereas cesium will boil off uncooled spent fuel as we currently have.

It is worth noting however that reports note that TEPCOs failure to find plutonium at the site until recently was because they were not looking.
There is no indication of a comprehensive site survey for radioactives that has been publicly reported afaik.

Let's not talk about 'reputation' but facts:

Strontium- 90 and caesium-137 are indeed similar in their bioavailability/uptake as well as half-life.

The difference is in the biochemistry. 137Cs acts similar to potassium which is an essential alkali element for cell biology for all life. It is thus distributed about evenly in the body and excreted at a rate of about half in 30days. Thus the dose will be whole body and duration can be easily calculated.

Strontium on the other hand accumulates in the bones similar to calcium causing bone cancer and leukemia there.

As for the difference in reputation: it was the study done on Strontium-90 fallout which gave us the above ground nuclear weapons ban treaties.

See http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Radiation_and_Public_Health_Project

It is amazing how low the difference is with Strontium-90 exposure which already shows up as increased cancer rates in epidemiological studies - how inconvenient (for ones) for the nuclear lobby - that leukemia is almost non-existent without this isotope contaminating the population. For ones they cannot manipulate research for their ends so easily. Now if only they could lobby for more strontium released somehow...

how inconvenient (for ones) for the nuclear lobby - that leukemia is almost non-existent without this isotope contaminating the population.

Leukemia was first documented in 1845. By 1900 leukemia was viewed as a family of diseases as opposed to a single disease. Over time it was found that some was genetic, some chemical induced, some induced by ionizing radiation, and some unknown. The rate of leukemia has not had a significant increase subsequent to 1945. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Leukemia#Causes Using your logic eliminating guns would eliminate murder.

The rate of leukemia has not had a significant increase subsequent to 1945

It doesn't say that in the Wikipedia article you linked. it is also not true - especially for childhood leukemia.

I have raised the same questions in another thread. At TMI I would analyze for Sr-90 and tritium. I dare say they are present in in levels that exceed all standards. The amount of Sr-90 is about the same as Cs-137. Cs-137, I-131 are easy to detect. You just grab a sample, throw it on a GeLi push a button and the computer magically gives you a read out. However you cannot do that with either Sr-90/Y-90 or tritium. You must have specialized counting equipment and perform chemical separations, that are never done at nuclear utilities. This has to outsourced. It is true that Sr-90 does not go airborne as fast as Cs-137, but Y-90 does and gives you funky results unless you are aware of it. The short lived Y-90 daughter product is typically mis-identified as being natural when not with Sr-90.

However, whenthey have vast amounts of accident water pouring/seeping into the ocean, there is no filtering mechanism for Sr-90. It will be in anything that absorbs calcium such as shells, coral reefs, and bones. It is a travesty that no one at the IAEA is mentioning this. This leads me to suspect that no one at the IAEA knows what is needed to detect Sr-90.

What a sad commentary to our supposed intelligence. This should be just another 'ruin' like so many others from past civilizations, except for its unseen toxicity. With half life's ranging up to 24,000 years should we even make this stuff.
What a complete and utter disregard for our descendants. How do you communicate to future generations the hazard when you cannot see it with the naked eye.

Collectively we have to be the dumbest species/civilization on the planet, we shot ourselves in the foot on this one.

Civilization - Nothing civil about poisoning the place someone else would live.

I'm just as guilty...

"This should be just another 'ruin' like so many others from past civilizations, except for its unseen toxicity."


The pyramid of Khufu
The King’s Chamber
The sarcophagus

Then imagine
No empty coffin
But nuclear reaction

Within those tons of stone
Plutonium and cobalt
Demons of the desert

Then, five thousand years
Times five thousand years
In which to guard this stone-wrapped mummy

O desert night
Deserted burial
And restless Pharaoh

March 30, 2011

I recommend the documentary Into Eternity for a sober look into the nuclear sarcophagus one country, Finland, is leaving for the future.

I have seen Into Eternity and I like it. It is necessary to both think about the very long term and act for the long term when one use nuclear power. These images of serious people who humbly do their utmost to plan for millenia and during a generation blasts a deep and vast bedrock sarchophagus resonates with me, this is the right state of mind for using nuclear power, this is what I expect from my fellow Swedes.

It is also what I wish every other business who creates waste would do, think about its very long term effects and then do what is needd to handle the problems.

I hope all is well with the plans for staring to build such a deep bedrock repository in Sweden and that the building start soon. I also wish that we in parallell with this develop ways of recycling the long lived transuranic elements in new types of reactors.

"It is also what I wish every other business who creates waste would do, think about its very long term effects and then do what is needed to handle the problems."

Plastics and chemicals are scattered everywhere, too.
The images of dead albatross birds filled with plastic are very sad.
Google image searches on "plastic albatross" or "pacific plastic" or "plastic Hawaii" are fairly shocking.

Why is massive ammounts of plastic thrown away in a word that mines coal?
It should at least make sense to recycle it for the energy content.

It's not worth the price of collection.

Lots of links also spread out from here:

is it really true that finland is the first country to build these? then the situation of nuclear waste is much worse than i thought.

US already has Yucca Mountain, which failed for political reasons. Germany tried to built two sites at old salt mines but they turned out much less stable than they initially thought.

"US already has Yucca Mountain" Which is to say they have papers that describe the 10 billion dollars they spent considering the idea of it, but there is no actual repository.

And the "political reason" for its failure is that the people and officials of Nevada are unconvinced of its safety.

And for good reason. A geologist I know was asked to evaluate the rock in the mountain. He found that it was as porous as Swiss Cheese--not a good thing for storing dangerous material that you want to stay in the same place for, essentially, ever. He was not invited to do any further studies.

There is that site south of Carlsbad New Mexico (can't remember the name), but for political reasons I think it is only for military waste. Waste Isolation Pilot Project, IIRC, WIPP. In any case, it has been accepting waste for many years now.

It is true in a way: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Deep_geological_repository

Most 'nuclear waste sites' around the world have been failures because they were never designed or constructed from the beginning to be final waste repositories - only waste storage areas. As the people building Onkolo have found out, it is not an easy task - and very expensive indeed.

It also takes a long time to do it properly: Onkalo has been under construction since 2004 and it is estimated to be able to receive its first waste for burial in 2020 at the earliest. Note that even the Onkola hasn't been given the final approval yet - first they need to finish the excavation and then further research and studies on its integrity are needed to finally establish if the rock around it is suitable.

Also the extent of Onkalo can only handle the waste from the five plants we have (fifth is under construction). It will also have to be in operation for 100 years to receive that waste. Assuming there is no accident, terrorist incident, political turmoil or structural failure during that time.

I have seen the prototypes for the copper capsules when they were doing the research on how to weld them shut. Any leak from the containers - each containing several tons of highly contaminated as well as chemically toxic waste - needs to stay inside and not leak into water flowing in the base rock system for 100,000 years.

Note: the site chosen for Onkalo wasn't chosen because it was the best - it was chosen because it was the only one where they could get permission to build it - under the existing nuclear power stations at Olkiluoto.

Enough pure metallic copper to be worth mining?

Someone put the whole Into Eternity movie on Youtube : http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=aThAce3EIuw

It's an interesting movie about the huge Onkalo waste repository project filled in with ethical Q's, going to depths of 500 m into hard bedrock ... taking 20 y to build:

Good one Pavel. Haunting & sobering. Hopefully there will be little contamination or spread of radio-isotopes with very long half lives...

Indifferent earth
trembles and shakes
bleeding magma through
fissures deep
then cities crumble
seas overflow
releasing chaos
from below

Magic rock slaves
in steam cauldrons
will spill unseen
their tiny demons
into the soil
into the earth
where they will linger
inflicting damage
on life's fragile code

For every source
there is a sink
for every gain
a loss
benign sources
are diffuse
the quick ones
have terrible costs

Enslaving nature
is what we do
finding limits
as we go
learning or not
we stumble on
and in the end
we cannot win

Will we feel pride
until the day
that nothing
we have altered

Quiet ants
will build their world
upon our fallen reverie

good poem

but then

Quiet ants
will build their world
upon our fallen reverie

is the most likely result regardless of any activity in which our young species engages--just kind of how the long view of things looks to work

In the early 90s, I came across an RFP seeking long-term 'signage' solutions to identify and warn of radioactive/hazardous waste burial sites. A chief requirement was that the 'solution' would possess a 'survival' lifespan of 25,000 years. At the time, I thought to myself...we're doomed. I wonder how many submissions there were and if any were ever funded? Japan might be needing a few...

And the most astonishing thing is that 25,000 years is not nearly long enough--if you want to keep the waste isolated for 10 half-lives of plutonium, you need to plan for 240,000 years. Preposterous.

Why would you want to do that?

Well, maybe because it would still be dangerous after, say, seven periods of 24,000 years.

That would seem to depend on the quantity you begin with.

Sure. And the concentration/distribution, mode of exposure, etc.

What original quantity would you mix into your orange juice after seven half-lives?

It either means "run away from this hazard", or that you are about to be beamed up by space aliens. Which is also pretty scary, I suppose.

[edit] image was supposed to appear:

We are screwed

< a href="http://www.theoildrum.com/node/7751#comment-787558" title="Permalink">Permalink
< div class="content">< img src="http://upload.wikimedia.org/wikipedia/en/1/10/New_radiation_symbol_ISO_21482.svg" width="75%" />
< p>It either means "run away from this hazard", or that you are about to be beamed up by space aliens. Which is also pretty scary, I suppose. < /p>

Maybe it likes gif and png and jpg but doesn't like svg.

Kinda reminds me of Alien. They thought they were investigating a "distress beacon". It was actually a warning message "don't ever land here".

I believe the effort you mentioned was part of a U.S. Department of Energy (DOE) effort associated with their mandated effort to find permanent disposal techniques and sites for the Nation's high-level and transuranic waste streams. On a few occasions a diverse range of experts were invited to study how to mark such sites based on a U.S. Environmental Protection Agency (EPA) process rule associated with long-term institutional controls. The conference experts, most of whom came from academic backgrounds, had a grand time coming up with various plans which were published in several government reports. These then served as references supporting such things as the NEPA environmental assessment report for the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant (WIPP) near Carlsbad, New Mexico, which is now accepting the Nation's plutonium contaminated waste materials. The same types of guidelines were expected to be applied after the completion of the planned HLNW repository at Yucca Mountain. Some of the participants in these studies then went on the lecture circuit to talk about their studies for these government sponsored studies.

Physicist and sci-fi writer Gregory Benford wrote a book documenting those efforts and others in Deep Time: How Humanity Communicates Across Millennia.

chief requirement was that the 'solution' would possess a 'survival' lifespan of 25,000 years

A Khufu-size pyramid? With blocks made from granite instead of limestone? With skull and crossbones carved into each block...

Oh now that's obviously pirate treasure, we must dig it up

This has always struck me as somewhat silly.
Arsenic or mercury are toxic forever, infinite half life, yet we deal with them routinely.
Massive amounts are pumped into the environment by coal plants, mineral roasting operations and even water wells that bring up mineral rich water.
The special treatment for radiation hazard material has always seemed a bit illogical in consequence.

In terms of the number of people you can kill per unit weight, I think the ranking is generally:
- biological agents, e.g. smallpox,
- radionuclides, e.g.polonium 210,
- chemical agents, e.g. nerve gas, and
- high explosives, e.g. HMX.

A flu virus weighs about 1.25 × 10-19 grams. It took only one with the correct genetic makeup to multiply and subsequently kill about 80,000,000 people at the beginning of the 20th century.

And of course we had to go and recreate that virus by digging up old corpses and sequencing. Lucky it was "just" the US military that did that and now has stocks (plus all the other labs they sent it to) and not someone else eh?

Cesium and iodine and tritium cannot be easily removed from drinking water. No one is worried about Tritium. lol. That is the same as water when the in the form T2O.

But mercury, lead and arsenic are able to be removed.

The reactor design is considered a failure by all accounts. The waste storage issue is pathetic and failed also. The siting of the plant is some kind of joke. The backups were a joke. The post disaster plan is a joke. The Japanese government's plans are a joke. The power company is a joke. Their safety standards are a joke -- they do not have adequate safety equipment for their workers. Same old. Same old. Big fail. Nuclear is an illusion of safety and a track record that speaks volumes.

The comparison is not to coal but to diffuse intermittent power (wind and solar) which is very clean. Nuclear is closer to coal than wind in terms of widespread pollution.

Nuclear gets a failing grade. Tokyo is in rolling blackouts due to its reliance on Safe nuclear power in a subduction zone. Are all the nukes 100% safe? Very doubtful.

I am all for safe nuclear, but it will cost too much money to make it safe, and the bosses and culture seen opposed to safety from the looks of the Japanese disaster and response efforts so far.

Nuclear has a lot of image to clean up now. You guys lost the middle 25% of the public. Disasters at any of these old reactors is just a matter of time.

No one is worried about Tritium. lol. That is the same as water when the in the form T2O.

Are you confusing tritium with deuterium? Tritium is not the worst radioisotope, but it's not safe. 1 PPM tritium in your body will give you a lethal full-body dose of radiation in a couple of hours.

Dear DilusionaL

Radiation hysteria rampant. We need to study the issue of radiation effects before we make wildly erroneous statements. Plutonium-239 is a heavy metal and is perhaps the most misunderstood of all the radioactive elements. The 24,110 year half-life is not all bad. The rate of radioactive decay (specific activity) is inversely related to half-life. Elements with shorter half-lives, such as radium, emit 200 times more radiation than plutonium. . Plutonium and radium are alpha emitters. Their radiation is unable to penetrate skin. The main concern with alpha emitter is to avoid inhaling their dust. Heavy metals are to varying degrees chemically toxic. When taken in by mouth, plutonium is less poisonous than several common substances including caffeine, acetaminophen, and some vitamins. No one has ever been killed plutonium radio or chemical toxicity. The heavy metals mercury and arsenic are not radioactive but they are much more chemically toxic than plutonium.

In Japan where the tragedy has claimed more than 20,000 lives no one has been killed by radiation at the stricken reactors and it likely that no one will die from radiation associated with this event. Our concerns are terribly misplaced. Radiation is a poor carcinogen and a poor mutagen.

In the USA, over-regulation of nuclear power plants have driven up their costs, so the coal plants are cheaper to build. The problem is that over the lifespan of a coal plant the coal pollution will claim 3000 lives. Anti-nuke hysteria causes us to build dirty dangerous coal plants that kill thousands instead of clean nuclear power plant that not claimed a single life in 50 years.

HUH !!????....

Brilliant satire. Just the right touch of over-the-top madness to permit readers to think it might be serious.

It's already gone viral and posted on the MIT site...

Geez! It took me awhile to catch on at the Drumbeat yesterday too! I didn't delete it from my favorites though, but damn close. Just kinda dense, I think. OK! Moving on then. Let's try to fix these leaks! Heh. Heh.

The same nonsense has gone viral and is now found on the pages of the Washington Post:

History suggests that nuclear power rarely kills and causes little illness. That’s also the conclusion engineers reach when they model scenarios for thousands of potential accidents.

It's easy to miss the intellectual dishonesty: comparing coal to nuclear or hydro to nuclear is comparing apples to watermelons. The big difference is the level of subsidy that nuclear enjoys. Without subsidy, nuclear electricity is uncompetitive with other sources, particularly less- subsidized coal and natgas.

A proper approach is cost benefit analysis which would compare the benefit of unsubsidized base- load electricity versus the lost property costs associated from a nuclear 'event'.

The loss of 900 sq km in Ukraine was of small importance as that country was a communist dictatorship with state ownership of everything other than toothbrushes. Private property and insurances were not effected: oblivious inhabitants of the plant area were bussed out without explanation or compensation. It their place appeared chain- link fences with armed guards barely restraining genital- eating dogs. All of this fit into the hip at the time 'Soviet Totalitarian Style'.

A Fukushima- style event taking place near New York City would have unimaginable property consequences. The residential areas north of Manhattan include homes for some America's wealthiest. Reactors are nearby chic Chicago, Washington, DC, Philadelphia: Lyon, France and of course Tokyo 'trend addresses'.

Imagine a 1,000 sq km exclusion zone on the California coast?

Another cost- benefit argument can be made measuring electricity 'benefit' against the anxiety cost.

The issue is not absolute safety costs as in lives- per- plant but rather, the perceived nature of the costs. This is the relative marginal costs of cheap base load electricity versus the anxiety cost that 'cheap' nuclear inflicts the same customers.

No power company can meter anxiety: if the cost of cheap watts is balloon- headed kids there will be no electricity at all.


Wildly erroneous statements happen. They are part of any public discussion. One that comes to mind is a claim that no one has been killed by radiation in the ongoing tragedy in Japan. NO ONE? Who said that? Is it at all believable that not a single one of the workers at the Dai-ichi plant has received a lethal dose? I think a better way to put it is "No one has yet died from radiation." Radiation kills slowly, like large area 3rd degree burns. But putting a "yet" in ths statement really reduces the desired rhetorical effect. Doesn't it?

Some hyperventilate. Others manipulate.

I'll ask again (not that I know anyone knows) - does anyone know what happened with the two "missing" workers from over a week ago? I had been running on the assumption that A) there was a mistaken headcount or more likely B) some combination of fire/smoke and/or radiation killed them. It seems exatrordinary to me that it would be a news story for a day that 2 out of 50 people that the whole world was monitoring would be "missing" and then zero follow-up.

Three Mile Island has most certainly killed people here in PA by the way.


I was 8 living in Philadelphia when this happened and to this day I wonder what my exposure was. Not as bad as people a little west of here surely, but it can't be good. Apparently the radiaton release was very poorly monitored and the government and industry don't even know enough to lie with authority.

There was even a sci-fi book written in the '80s called "In the Drift" about the TMI accident being just a bit more serious and Philadelphia becoming Nevil Shute's "On the Beach." Yikes.

I'm ordering iodiode tablets b/c this was such a wake-up call about the multiple aging reactors we live so close to in disaster terms, including the one still operating at TMI.

I also wonder about these dosages that we're told are "above recommended levels" yet still oddly "safe" like a banana. I wonder about this in accumulation too... OK, so there's the safely radioactive milk PLUS the rainwater PLUS the porno monitor at the airport PLUS the does in the flight PLUS my dental X-rays... now what are my odds?

The two missing workers were reported, recently, to have been found, dead. No details.


Thank you. Very sorry to hear this but not surprised.

As one can see in a story such as this:


... we were originally told the workers were missing in conjunction with the explosions and fires at the plant on about the 16th, but now the news stories suggest they were missing since the 11th.

The odds are you are going to die from an ulcer. or get run over by a car.

There is nothing delusional about the dangers of radiation although people at the extreme might say stupid things like one atom of plutonium will kill you instead of might kill you but a very small chance of it. Nobody knows for sure how many? but even a small amount of plutonium lodged in your lungs could give you lung cancer.If its you, it is not important that it was statistically improbable. The independent research believes there was 1/2 to 2 million excess mortality from the radioactive contamination of Chernobyl. There is a huge difference between radioactive particles/molecules ingested from your food or water or inhaled in the air and some small concentration radioactive dust on your shoe.The point is, catastrophic nuclear accidents have happened and will continue to happen. Human error happens. Black Swan natural events happen. How much would you have had to charge TEPCO for their liability premiums to stay in business as an insurance company? The insurance industry doesn't know and refuses to insure nuclear plants. They are far from delusional.

How much would you have had to charge TEPCO for their liability premiums to stay in business as an insurance company? The insurance industry doesn't know and refuses to insure nuclear plants. They are far from delusional.

Absolutely. If nuclear power is safe, then underwrite a policy to insure all property within 100 miles of a plant against loss-of-use from radiological contamination.

After a few more inevitable accidents in which there is no coverage (either by private entities or governments), I expect there to be civil and criminal lawsuits filed worldwide against anyone, both corporations, and individuals with credentials who have made a 'nuclear is safe' claim, and cannot back that claim up with insurance coverage.

That George Monbiot dude agrees with you and claims the UN does too.

Apparently, unless there was absolute verifiable proof that you hugged the exploded reactor at Chernobyl, then you did NOT die from radiation.

Monbiot refers to a total UN number of 43 deaths in the below debate excerpt. I went to read the UN reports but didn't have to after seeing that Monbiot's attribution was essentially right there in an introductory paragraph (28deaths + ±19deaths):

"The Chernobyl accident caused many severe radiation effects almost immediately. Of 600 workers present on the site during the early morning of 26 April 1986, 134 received high doses (0.8-16 Gy) and suffered from radiation sickness. Of these, 28 died in the first three months and another 19 died in 1987-2004 of various causes not necessarily associated with radiation exposure."

Excerpted from: "Prescription for Survival": A Debate on the Future of Nuclear Energy Between Anti-Coal Advocate George Monbiot and Anti-Nuclear Activist Dr. Helen Caldicott...and it's actually a good watch cause it's turned kind-of hilarious at this point. Caldicott is pleading and Monbiot is finding it hard to speak and actually bursts out laughing at one point because of his inability to do so...but poor Dr. Caldicott dealing with poor poor George, whose answer to his life's advocacy has just blown up in his face, stuck on the ridiculous 43 deaths. ...and check out George's goof-ball fake big-eyed disbelief he puts on during all this... good stuff...

GEORGE MONBIOT: ...Now, on these questions that Helen raises, I mean, if she’s honestly saying that the World Health Organization is now part of the conspiracy and the cover-up, as well, then the mind boggles.


GEORGE MONBIOT: You know, where does this end?

HELEN CALDICOTT: The mind does boggle.

GEORGE MONBIOT: If them and the U.N. Scientific Committee and the IAEA and—I mean, who else is involved in this conspiracy? We need to know.

AMY GOODMAN: Finally, Helen Caldicott?

HELEN CALDICOTT: Well, yes, we do. It’s the IAEA which promotes nuclear power—sorry, Amy. It’s the IAEA that promotes nuclear power, right, but says you mustn’t build bombs from your reactor. And that negotiation took place, God, several decades, quite a lot of decades, ago. And the WHO just does nothing—

GEORGE MONBIOT: And they have conspired to cover up—

HELEN CALDICOTT:—it has not examined the results—yes. This is the biggest—

GEORGE MONBIOT: They have conspired to cover up the incidence of cancer caused by radiation?

HELEN CALDICOTT:—medical conspiracy and cover-up in the history of medicine, George. Yes.

GEORGE MONBIOT: Right, so, WHO, IAEA, the U.N. Scientific Committee—


GEORGE MONBIOT:—on the Effects of Atomic Radiation, all of them are part of the cover-up.

HELEN CALDICOTT: I don’t know about the U.N. Scientific Committee.

GEORGE MONBIOT: Well, that’s a huge—I mean, you don’t know about it?

HELEN CALDICOTT: Well, certainly the IAEA and the WHO.

GEORGE MONBIOT: I mean, this is—the U.N. Scientific Committee is the major repository of the science on this issue. You don’t know about it?

HELEN CALDICOTT: Well, yeah, no, I’ve read about it, but the main thing is that the WHO was prevented or did not examine the results from Chernobyl, and it’s ongoing and will be for generations and generations, George.

GEORGE MONBIOT: But the United Nations did. The United Nations—

HELEN CALDICOTT: And soil, 40 percent of the soil in Europe is contaminated.

GEORGE MONBIOT: The United Nations Committee did examine Chernobyl. And they have said—


GEORGE MONBIOT:—that so far the death toll from Chernobyl amongst both workers and local people is 43. Am I—sorry, are you saying you didn’t know that they had examined this—

HELEN CALDICOTT: That’s a lie, George. That’s a lie.

GEORGE MONBIOT:—and you aren’t aware of their report?

HELEN CALDICOTT: That’s a lie.

GEORGE MONBIOT: What’s a lie?


GEORGE MONBIOT: That they examined this—


GEORGE MONBIOT:—and they wrote a report?

HELEN CALDICOTT: How dare they say that?


HELEN CALDICOTT: How dare they say that?

GEORGE MONBIOT: But are you aware—are you aware of the report?

HELEN CALDICOTT: This is a total cover-up. Yes, I am.

AMY GOODMAN: We’re going to wrap, with 10 seconds of each—


Wikipedia has a summary on what UNSCEAR actually says here http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chernobyl_disaster#Assessing_the_disaster.2...

Do you really think I'd read another summary after Monbiot's obvious manipulations...?

And Caldicott looks foolish at the other extreme and she better cut out the appeals to emotion like the one there at the end because that's exactly why i got up and left in the middle of my third PETA meeting...and never again returned...

Fully agree.

UNSCEAR overlooked mountains of work. Caldicott does her cause a grave disservice by allowing herself to be carried away by uncontrolled emotion.

Monbiot has painted himself into a corner from which he really needs to find an exit.

You are supposed to overlook pseudoscience. The major "studies" disputing UNSCEAR originate from organisations like Greenpeace or the ECRR. They are infamous for lying without a blink for their political interests and it shocks me anybody would trust them. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/ECRR

Oh how shocking. Some interest group has a bias with respect to the point of view they try to push. I would never have thought that possible.

What if the good honest people of the WHO and IAEA had a such interest? You know like written in plain English in their own founding principles document. That would mean they are culpable of the same thing? Simply unbelievable.



Don't be shy, Put up the words.. most people won't bother to go through the link to another document..


The WHO, they insist, must end the agreement made in 1959 which binds it to the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) (2) and prevents it from initiating a programme or activity in the area of nuclear power without consulting the IAEA “with a view to adjusting the matter by mutual agreement” (Article 1, Point 2).

... According to its statutes, the IAEA (a UN agency which reports to the Security Council) is mandated to “to accelerate and enlarge the contribution of atomic energy to peace, health and prosperity throughout the world”. It is in fact a lobby, industrial and military, which should have no role to play in public health policymaking or research.

What are you trying to imply with the first paragraph? See http://docs.google.com/viewer?a=v&q=cache:IDuTMk6i2SkJ:whqlibdoc.who.int...

The second paragraph fails to mention that IAEA's job is particularly easy because the truth is on their side.

Besides, UNSCEAR is an independent organisation.

Thank you for that link: an organization admitting it is indeed bound by an agreement but claiming it has no practical effect on their independence.

UNSCLEAR is bound by their founding resolution, boarded by 21 member states, and reporting to the UN committee. It was set up to be the ultimate authority in radiation safety:

UNSCEAR About Us "The Committee's programme of work is approved by the General Assembly, and extends typically over a 4-5 year period. The secretariat collates relevant data submitted by UN Member States, international organizations and non-governmental organizations, and engages specialists to analyse those data, to study relevant scientific literature and produce scientific evaluations. The secretariat submits the evaluations annually for scrutiny to each session of UNSCEAR, and at the end of the cycle, the substantive reviews are published."

From the summary of Chernobyl report:

"Studies of the Chernobyl accident exposure might shed light on the late effects of protracted exposure, but given the low doses received by the majority of exposed individuals, any increase in cancer incidence or mortality will be difficult to detect in epidemiological studies."

So: UNSCEAR (how obvious is that!) was set up to manage and filter the information the public will get through their governments on radiation safety - the studies they choose to publish are made by WHO who is bound to follow the direction of the IAEA which is an organization who's mandate is to promote nuclear power.

I don't think I have to 'imply' anything - their own words are enough...

What? So you claim that A) the contents of WHO studies on radioactivity are dictated by the IAEA and that B) the contents of UNSCEAR reports are dictated by WHO? That's a massive conspiracy you have there. I don't get how the second quote supports you point.

Thanks again for the summary.

As for the conspiracy angle - this need not be anything as elaborate as the Swiss banking of nazi gold, Israeli nuclear program or Nixon tapes - this is simple the nature of institutions (see Chomsky) - or if you prefer something more politically correct it is also called Regulatory Capture. You should find sections of it in the library.

For me personally it is even easier to imagine since I see it every day in my work in the military - the obvious revolving door - as well as the tacit 'understandings' between the institution and the business world it feeds on. Those who claim it doesn't exist are surely naive, or have a vested interest in denying its existence. I would guess you are the latter.

Funny that Monbiot seems to believe in a Peak Oil coverup with the IEA ordered to downplay the issue but when you simply add an extra "A" and get IAEA then obviously that organisation and others are white as white. Only when it comes to oil are they suspect - Is that what he really thinks?

It is patently obvious in the case of the IEA. I have yet to see more than the scaremongering of Greenpeace and its ilk in the case of the IAEA. There is no reason to coverup the deaths in Ukraine and Belorus, especially after the collapse of the USSR. The claims of 100,000 deaths are simply not credible.

Once again, where is all the concern, protests and bans in the wake of Bhopal? Are chemicals magically safer than radioactive isotopes? This is magical thinking and irrationality.

How do you know they are not credible? Hundreds of millions died early (and continue to) thanks to smoking cigarettes long before the link was demonstrated. How long did it take the tobacco industry to accept it?

Have you watched http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiCXb1Nhd1o Chernobyl Documentary. They follow up on the lives of some of the workers they can still track down. Is what they find again just "everything in the former USSR is like that"?

But yes, radioactive waste is, in my opinion, "magically" more dangerous than chemical. That's because the chain reaction we initiate starts a process of matter ripping itself apart, effectively until the end of time as far as planetary timescales are concerned. I'm not suggesting you are one of them but I find lots of people who think that all we do is somehow "concentrate" the natural radiation already present and that if we just disperse the waste back again it will all be fine.

Certain bioweapons could also be with us to the end of time but I certainly don't want more of them.

in the case of the IAEA. There is no reason to coverup the deaths in Ukraine and Belorus, especially after the collapse of the USSR. The claims of 100,000 deaths are simply not credible.

Wow, dissident. I hear you and raise you double. Please carefully explain us the reasoning behind that sentence.


After reading that I would say, it is patently obvious in the case of GreenPeace and others that their estimates are a conservative guess work based on hidden and falsifies data by the global nuclear lobby. Claims of 60 death are simple murder by proxy.

As for your Bhopal comparison - have a look at the history of the green movement - you might find that those people weren't exactly quiet about Bhopal...

And no, chemicals aren't 'chemically' safer than radioactive isotopes - although many radioisotopes released here are indeed toxic as heavy metals for example. Radioactivity, ionizing radiation due to nuclear decay, is simply a different phenomenon from chemical toxicity. Just like shooting yourself in the foot is a different phenomenon from getting run over by a car. Making false allusions based on comparisons of apples and root vegetables is dishonest and a distraction. Please clean up your logic circuits, you've been here long enough not to fall for that one man...


- Ransu

The mortality among Chernobyl liquidators will reach 100% eventually. So, the claims of 1,000,000 deaths are not that far off. From some point of view.

Thanks to the modified dosimeters...

The mortality among Chernobyl liquidators will reach 100% eventually. So, the claims of 1,000,000 deaths are not that far off. From some point of view.

I saw a tree fall ones due to a load of heavy snow. From my point of view I'm sure it was the only one.

It is indeed very convenient and calming to know there were only 60 recorded, analyzed and scientifically confirmed deaths. Like when trees don't fall down in forests because there are no UN mandated organizations on site to record the events.

The liquidators, the miners of Tula and the over 100,000 reservists of the soviet military, who passed through the Chernobyl operation in the weeks and months of the containment and clean-up effort - there was no one there for them to gather and analyze their health records. All but forgotten.

In the secrecy, corruption, international politics and following post soviet collapse environment - with unrecorded population movements, poor health care system and even poorer recording of epidemiological data

- it makes one wonder what kind of education - or motive - does a person have - who takes as the death toll - the low end of such an estimate?

Yet these same people are all too willing to make false comparisons of radiation dose from coal dust - based on data which is completely theoretical - and published by a popular science mag.

People can believe what they choose to believe. I on the other hand - choose to believe the 'anecdotal' evidence - for example given the general, still alive, who's pilots flew the choppers over the burning plant - all in their 20's - all of them are now dead.

There are more and more such stories - by journalists, doctors and health care workers throughout ex-soviet Russia. They are the witnesses to this event - which should be investigated by criminal investigators - not engineers and scientists with a vested interest in corrupting the truth.

Remember - there are over 250 billions barrels of proven reserves in Saudi Arabia - because they say so. And there are no and has never been any conspiracies in this world. Because someone said they were 'silly'.

A key lesson that we should all have learned by now is to not rush to clean up disasters.

Take the World Trade Center for example. Even after there was clearly no longer a chance of finding survivors, there was a great haste to recover remains and to clear away the debris. After that, the rebuilding stalled for years, with only a large hole in the ground to show for their efforts.

Meanwhile, the workers who were at the site for long hours with negligible protection have suffered from respiratory and other illnesses, some fatal, in growing numbers.

So when disaster happens, do the rescue. Then plan, wait, and be very careful with the cleanup work.

Of course, politicians, whether Russian ones or Mayor Giuliani, want the visible chaos removed as soon as possible, so that they can be seen as taking charge and solving the problem.

Being Russian, I do not believe a single word of the 'anecdotal' evidence coming from fellow Russians.

India Police Block Bhopal Protests
...activists on Friday accused authorities of detaining people by the thousands to torpedo their plans for huge protest rallies.
...11,000 people were arrested across central India's Madhya Pradesh state to prevent them from congregating in Bhopal...
For other demonstrations, survivors and their supporters have walked the 500 miles from Bhopal to Delhi to protest the lack of help.
Bhopal activists were recently told they could protest for a few hours only at Delhi’s Jantar Mantar.

"Once again, where is all the concern, protests and bans in the wake of Bhopal?"

Out of sight, out of mind.
Nothing to see here.
Especially on captive corporate media in an openly imperialist state.
"Homeland Security" The Homeland...

Don't subtract the chemical disasters from the nuclear ones.
Add them all together.

Then please dose yourself with radiation and leave the people to decide on the issues of nuclear power safety based on performance and health records from nuclear weapons tests. Thank you.

Why ignore Chernobyl data?

Because as scientists, we take data of any kind and examine it for quality - it is the quality of the input which determines or restricts the output. Thanks to WHO and IAEA we haven't got all the data (BER) - and thanks to the nuclear lobby and on the other hand non-scientific organizations like GreenPeace there is a lot of corrupted data (noise). It is our job not to listen to the noise or lament for the lost data - but to find the signal. There are some good people doing good stuff.

We are not idiots. We have been lied to and kept in the dark so many times before, we have begun to do our own research - that's what TOD is about (peak oil, peak everything etc.). You might want to hang around for more than 24 hours before trolling around here.

clean nuclear power plant that not claimed a single life in 50 years.

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiCXb1Nhd1o - The Battle of Chernobyl (HQ) 1hr 32min 1 clip

http://www.imdb.com/title/tt1832484/combined - 2006 rated 9/10

Now tell me how many died at/after Chernobyl.

There were at least 40 children with severe birth defects. Life begins at conception for these pro-nuclear pro-lifers right?

I am tired of arguing. Nuclear have a steep curve and will not be popular now. New nuclear will be scarce in the developed world and heavier in the totalitarian areas like China.

Pro-nuke folks maybe should move to China. The air is as brown as the eyes can see. The water is filled with industrial waste. They are heading for probably cheap quality, marginally safe nukes to add to the mix there. Best of luck China.

If you are concerned about the United States, rest easy. The US does not have a steel industry capable of making nuclear reactor pressure vessels. After regulatory delays, when peak oil really starts to bind, the US will not be in queue at the available manufacturers.

Heavy Manufacturing of Power Plants

http://iowaindependent.com/28701/iowa-nuclear-workers-government-not-liv... -- Government not living up to promises

One town of 25,000 permanent residents in Iowa has not one, but *two* deaths attributed to exposure to toxic metals or direct radiation during the manhattan project. The claim that 'no deaths occurred from safe nuclear power' is patently bogus.

I'm sitting here advocating biofuels, and I'm far more likely to die by not paying attention to a rotating shaft on a combine, or a spark igniting ethanol vapors in a distillation facility than cancer from radiation. But I know what those risks are, and the data is available. The whole nuclear industry is covered by a veil of secrecy, corruption, and graft. Secrecy was necessary when fighting a war. It is now our biggest liability.

Secrecy of the military-industrial-corporate complex has become the greatest threat to national and world security.

The Manhattan project was a weapons program not a nuclear power program.

Sure, if you pick and choose your acceptable causes of death, you can claim no fatalities were ever due to radiation from commercial nuclear power. There have, in fact, been two fatalities in Fukushima, and the argument could fairly be made that they were in there to prevent a radiological event. Why wouldn't you count that?

"you can claim no fatalities were ever due to radiation from commercial nuclear power"

Ooops: "Two missing workers found dead at Fukushima plant"


Reported deaths were attributed to the earthquake event or the Tsunami in particular.

surely by the same logic, you'd then say that some of the deaths involved in coal mining were down to explosives. picking and choosing which deaths to count is at the very least statistically dubious.

surely by the same logic, you'd then say that some of the deaths involved in coal mining were down to explosives. picking and choosing which deaths to count is at the very least statistically dubious.

Oh come on. These workers died from blood loss due to external injury. Blaming these deaths on nuclear power is like blaming a supermarket for a death because someone got run over by a drunk driver in the parking lot.

If you're hoping for a high body count from the Fukushima accident, you may well get one in the coming months or years. But you do yourself no favors by trying to inflate it now.

No im not trying to inflate the numbers, im more asking where you draw the line, do they count because they were working there at the time? I'd say yes because the coastal design of the stations made it so they would be in the way of any oncoming Tsunami. Any answer that says that we wish to exclude these men would deny the fact that they knew they were working in a dangerous environment. There was an earthquake, there was a chance of a Tsunami, yet three workers went about their duties and died, when they could have been running up the nearby hills. The fact that at least two of them did not die from radiation poisoning doesn't mean they should be excluded and any attempt to do so is disingenuous at best.

Having said that It's not a practice unique to the nuclear industry, when talking about the hydro electric industry, there is always a desire to exclude the Banquiao dam disaster from the numbers taking 170,000 fatalities from the cost in lives of hydro power. The coal and oil industry ignores the externality of those people with breathing problems who are victims of their product.

Depending which set of figures you use ranging through Various anti nuclear groups who claim in excess of 100,000 from Chernobyl, through the Official Russian government report that put the figure at 40,000, through the IAEA report which put the figures at 4,000 down to claims as low as 40, each informed by the compilers biases and wants and needs, each with its own set of assumptions but acting as if any attempt to tot up the figures on the current event is being thoroughly dishonest and people are trying to sneak casualties into the figures unfairly I dont think stands up to any intellectual rigor.

While there can be many ways to count injuries from nuclear, I believe that most people think of it as the injuries from radiation. These injuries would seem to fall into three categories: fatalities, life span reduction, and loss of function. Of necessity this would involve some approximations for excess death rates, and I would include suicides, and for excess illness rates (presumably of cancer) and for excess birth defects. Since radiation injuries come primarily from accidents, and since few of the accidents have happened so far since we are in 50 years into a future of exposure, doesn't it become difficult to do this calculation with any degree of confidence? Should we estimate injuries per century.

Don't forget that there was a death at Fukushima Daini. http://www.tepco.co.jp/en/press/corp-com/release/11031233-e.html (mentioned in the last block of text)

I can't tell if you are serious or satirical. Assuming you are serious, how many pools of these rods are sitting 'requiring' cooling and for how many decades.

We have done something here that history will not view kindly. I question our 'intelligence'.

edit: superfluous.

"Blue Flashing Light Seen Over Fukushima Plant"


That's not good. In the report, they also said that only about half the workers had dosimeters because they didn't have enough of them. Having worked in the nuclear industry some time ago, I find that unbelievable - really criminal if that is what is happening.

That's what's happening.


It is impossible to speculate given the confusion of information.
Dosimeters are coming in from outside the country.

When I was a Los Alamos, any employees, that got near any rad sources routinely carried film badges. Upon processing, dosage could be determined. Now, I suspect modern electronic stuff is better -for one it could tell you immediately so you could know to vacate the area. But even these old fashioned film badges would at least let accumulated dosages get tracked.

I think a bigger fear, was geting reprimanded/fired for being careless. Management didn't take kindly to workers screwing up and getting exposed!

Well, the thing is they probably HAD a few thousand film dosimeters, on site, but TEPCO reported these have been destroyed as a result of the earthquake.
What actually happened was that these probably after the first explosions got exposed to so much radiation that they became worthless...
But notice: technically it is correct to say "because of the earthquake"...
OK i am only speculating a bit. And that is the sad part - why not say what happened - is truth really so dangerous...? a little bit of truth?

More likely they all have tld,s( what used to be film badges) because they were wearing them. Its the electronic direct reading dosimeters that they do not have. or Is it they are missing both?

well they say that they had 5000 dosimeters there before the crisis, and only 200 survived, but they have another plant less than 7 miles away, why not use some of the ones they have there? Or ring another plant operator and ask for a lend of a few hundred till you can get some replacements?

Or send an E-mail to all the nuke plants in the world. Fukushima would have had 50% of the world's nuke plant supply on hand in 72 hours at Haneda Airport. Overnight postage paid.

At my most cynical, I wonder if what they really ran out of was the dosimeters modified to read less than actual values. Wouldn't surprise me if small stocks of such exist as you never know when they might come in handy...

Now that was really cynical- but since this is a quite cynical world, when 'all the water is boiled away'- why not?
On the other side- are Greenpeace or the like allowed near the plant with their correctly scaled meters- to double check Tepco?

That could be something as simple as reflections from safety vehicle warning lights, or it could be an indication of neutrons lighting up the air above a fission spot. I believe such irradiation produces an effect call 'sky-shine.'

How much protection would wearing a diving wet suit saturated with clean water provide for workers in hot zones? Would 1/8th inch of water covering the body actually be helpful?



I'd be wearing a pear of thick lead underwear if i was working around those leaking reactors.

Just in case things go [more] pear shaped, huh?

Protection from what? Where in the ocean or in the fuel storage pools? Radiation is going to be low. The water is self shielding. That's why they use it to store the spent fuel. Since you do not breath water you will not breath in radioactive isotopes. Taking the suit on and off would be different because you would not want the hot water to get on you. But in the ocean the levels are so low you should not have to worry at all.

Since you seem interested. Here is where they coated fuel storage pools before draining them and taking them down.

scan down to the bottom of the document. The diver is taped at the wrist and ankles.

Water is a neutron moderator. It doesn't do squat against gamma rays. Also, the body is 75% water, another 1/8th inch wouldn't make a difference.

Though, the calcium in your bones will act as a good neutron capture species - forming Ca41.

Kinda liked getting cooked from the outside AND the inside.

Lot of misinformation here.

Water is a neutron moderator. It doesn't do squat against gamma rays.

*Mass* of any kind protects you from gamma rays. A meter of water protects about as much as 10 cm of lead or 1 *kilometer* of air.


Also, the body is 75% water, another 1/8th inch wouldn't make a difference.

The wetsuit won't protect you from gamma rays, but it will protect you from beta radiation, which is the most common emission from fission products. Beta is blocked by a few millimeters of material, preferably low-molecular-weight things like hydrogen.


Goodmanj - straight on. Well said and correct.

Please others - stop posting if you dont know, why not ask a question instead? Thats fun, right?
O-o-o-r: check wikipedia before posting... c'mon.

Written by goodmanj:
Beta is blocked by a few millimeters of material....

Since your Wiki source states, "a few millimeters of aluminum," please stop misinforming people about the danger of being struck by beta particles emitted outside the body. You can not just replace aluminum with a few millimeters of other material and achieve the same degree of blockage. Beta particles penetrate clothing and skin. Alpha particles do not. When a beta particle is a high speed positron, a gamma ray is emitted when the positron is annihilated by colliding with an electron. When the nuclear radiation level is very high, a person can be burned by the heat dissipated when radiation is absorbed, like what happened to the workers standing in the radioactive water in the basement of the turbine building for reactor 3 at Fukushima NPP.

The reason a shield for beta particles should be made from low density materials is to reduce Bremsstrahlung (X-ray) emission when beta particles are absorbed in the shielding, not because beta particles have minimal penetrating ability.

Beta radiation shielding with lead and plastic: effect on bremsstrahlung radiation when switching the shielding order., Van Pelt WR, Drzyzga M., Health Phys., 2007 Feb; 92(2 Suppl):S13-7.

... placing plastic first vs. lead first reduces the transmitted radiation level only marginally (10% to 40%); 2 mm of additional lead is sufficient to correct the "mistake" of placing the lead first; and for equal thicknesses or weights of lead and plastic, lead is a more efficient radiation shield than plastic.

α, β, γ Penetration and Shielding. For beta particles:

absorber material density maximum beta range
(2.3 MeV) (1.1 MeV)
air 1.2 mg/cm3 8.8 m 3.8 m
water (soft tissue) 1.0 g/cm3 11 mm 4.6 mm
plastic (acrylic) 1.2 9.6 4.0
glass (Pyrex) 2.2 5.6 2.2
aluminum 2.7 4.2 2.0
copper 8.9 1.2 0.5
lead 11.3 1.0 0.4

One needs about 4 mm (3/16 inch) of aluminum to stop 2.058 MeV beta particles (-β) emitted from 134Cs, ignoring the bremsstrahlung emitted when it interacts with the shield.

I'm having trouble figuring out how you think I've "misinformed".

Your table (which I'm very familiar with) says that beta shielding needed is in the range 0.4-11 millimeters thickness, more like 0.4-5 mm for low-energy betas like the ones emitted by Cs137 and I131. Is that not "a few millimeters"?

You mention bremsstrahlung radiation, an issue I'm also familiar with, which is what led me to say "low molecular weight materials are preferred". (Though I should have said "low atomic weight".)

I never said beta wasn't dangerous, or that the shielding needed was independent of material, or that beta couldn't penetrate skin. In fact, I don't see a single thing in your post which is inconsistent with mine, so long as you read what I wrote, not what you think I meant based on your preconceived notion of my ideology.

I'm getting really sick of people assuming I'm a nuclear apologist whenever I fact-check a nuclear opponent, and assuming I'm a opponent when I fact-check an apologist. What I am is deeply conflicted, and infuriated when opinion is used to determine data rather than the other way around.

Written by goodmanj:
The wetsuit won't protect you from gamma rays, but it will protect you from beta radiation, which is the most common emission from fission products. Beta is blocked by a few millimeters of material, preferably low-molecular-weight things like hydrogen.

You are claiming a wet suit will protect a person from beta radiation, and are implying that a few millimeters of hydrogen will provide an effective shield. The table suggests a wetsuit would have to be about 10 mm thick. Wetsuits are made of neoprene with thickness from ~2 mm to 6 mm and the material is not the same as the neoprene-lead fabric use to make aprons. One needs 8.8 meters of air which is probably comparable to the necessary thickness of hydrogen at STP. A suit made out of aluminum, 4 mm thick, would be as cumbersome as a suit of armor making work difficult. Because the extremities can withstand larger doses than the organs, some portions of the suit could be thinner. I responded because you over-corrected.

What kind of gamma fields do think he would be swimming in? High contamination does not necessarily mean high gamma fields. Even the contamination is pretty diluted. But you are not breathing it or eating it. A big difference.

And speaking of fact-checking:

a person can be burned by the heat dissipated when radiation is absorbed, like what happened to the workers standing in the radioactive water in the basement of the turbine building for reactor 3 at Fukushima NPP.

This is not what causes beta burns. They are not thermal burns, they're caused by inflammation due to skin cell damage, much like a sunburn.

If the "heat dissipated when radiation is absorbed" was only equal to the heat from an electric heating pad -- enough to warm but not burn you -- and this heat came from betas deposited in the upper 5 mm of skin, the dose rate would be 80 sieverts per second -- a fatal dose in the literal blink of an eye.

Power per area = 60 watts / .15 m^2 = 400 W/m^2
Power per kg = (400 W/m^2 / .005 m /) 1000 kg/m^3 = 80 W/kg = 80 Sieverts/sec for whole-body beta.

I did not calculate the heat generated by the radioactive water in the worker's boots, but I will calculate it to see.

At one time TEPCO claimed 2.9 GBq of cesium-134 / cm3. Assume 3 cm between the side of the boot and the leg. About half of this radiation would be absorbed in the leg, some fraction in the water and boot and some would escape. Say 75% is absorbed and 25% escapes. So a 1 cm2 area of skin would get the heat equivalent of:

2.9 GBq/cm3 * 3 cm3 * .75 * 2.059 MeV/decay * 1.602E-19 J/eV = 2.2 mJ/s

With a specific heat of 4.18 J/C/cm3 and assuming no heat loss, about 95 minutes would be need to heat 3 cm3 of water 1 C. You are correct. That's not enough to create a thermal burn in this case.

TY for all the replys, if you were a "Jumper" would you want to wear the white dust suits they provide, or a wet suit saturated with clean water? The water would be the shielding, not the neoprene. My question was if it was better, a lead suit would be great of course, but heatstroke and loss of mobility would be huge. A wet suit would cool you a bit and you would still have mobility.

Only the surface of a wet suit gets wet (inside and out). It is a closed cell foam. You would get some shielding from the neoprene but remember it is a foam. Still, probably more shielding than the Tyvek. The disadvantage is that it would be hard to decontaminate and it would be better to dispose of the Tyvek suits than wet suits. Not to mention it is a darn sight harder to work in the wet suit.


Look at these Hi Res Photos, #3 looks totally demolished;


Comments invited on slides 5 and 6. My take would be a change in wind direction resulting in higher deposition onshore. Is 500 to 1400 Bq/2m per day a cause for concern?

At Chernobyl, the criterion for the long-term periodic control zone is around 185 *KILO*Bq/m2. If one day's worth of unfavorable winds delivers 500 Bq/m2 of Cs-137, we'd need to have 370 days of unfavorable winds before the land would be contaminated at Chernobyl levels.

However, note that the prefectures listed are all fairly far from Fukushima: contamination may be higher at close range.

The levels of I-131 are harder to assess, because of the short half-life. The Chernobyl exclusion zone is based on the idea that you'll be exposed to those levels for a lifetime.


Thanks Goodmanj. I see Tochigi prefecture is quite far away from dai-ichi, but maybe has a border with Fukushima prefecture? So these numbers are neither alarming nor comforting since the wind and rain has been very favorable so far. I'd guess that in Summer - 8 weeks away, Japan's wind pattern will become dominated by sea breezes.

Somebody posted this link right after the tsunami. It's a useful interactive map of Japan's prefectures, with the added bonus of showing where rice production predominates - sadly, nearest Fukushima. And, yes, Tochigi borders Fukushima.

However ,

the BBC cites a 350mSv per LIFETIME criterion to decide towards relocation around Chernobyl :


When you compute the Becq's to mSv for cesium 137 for 60 years ,

you get a dose of around 1000 Becq to produce that amount of radiation ,

so I'd say 1400 Bq is definitely comparable to Chernobyl ( unless they want to change the criteria)

(you can check my computations here : http://www.inkers.nl/js/convert-from-becq.html )

text.innerHTML += "

Equals "+(becq*kev*3600*24*365*60*1000).toExponential(15)+" mSievert/(60 years) " ;

That calculator is terrible and useless. It assumes that your 1000 Bq is irradiating one kg of body tissue, that the activity stays constant over 60 years (despite the 30-yr half-life of Cs-137), that the radiation is beta decay only, and that the whole body is irradiated.

The data being reported are in becquerels per square meter of land surface: how many becquerels are absorbed by the body depends on the degree to which you inhale or ingest the material.


Oke , I wrote that calculator in a flash and I know exactly what you are trying to say .

And you are not a kind person

For if you were , you would have corrected these figures instead of villifying them.

But let me do it for you using your own words :

- assumes that the 1000 Bq is in one kg of body tissue
factoring the bodymass of a 60 Kg person : * 60 = 60000 Bq to reach at a 350 mSv value ( meaning 0.350 J / Kg of body mass )

- 30 yr halflife : factoring the decay * .25 = 240000 Bq ( because there will be no more cesium 137 after today ??)

- beta decay is what it decays into : http://www.wolframalpha.com/input/?i=cesium+137

So perhaps I should adjust it upwards

( Hey , I got 240 KBq now !) ,

or say that it is a per kg value ( maybe use the word 'equivalent ' more often)

But let me tell you what I find terrible and useless :

The fact that Sieverts are calculated as Joules per Kg instead of volume ,

meaning that a person double my weight can safely receive a double amount of radiation ?

While beta radiation will penetrate but a few mm's ? And that when ingested it doesn't really matter how big of a person I am ?

The fact that all safety standards seem designed around such an unworkable measuring unit show how much this industry is plagued by obscurantism.

BTW , my calculator is but an approximation , but it's better than nothing

Now tell me what the 350 mSv per lifetime DOES mean ?!!

Oke , I wrote that calculator and I know exactly what you are trying to say .
And you are not a kind person

Sorry, I assumed it was something you'd found on the net. You're absolutely right that the system is confusing. I've been looking all over for a good calculator that does the math correctly, but I haven't found one, and my comments reflect my disappointment.

As for the body weight thing, yes, the assumption is that heavier organisms can tolerate a greater dose. I'll be honest, I don't know exactly how to deal with the beta radiation "skin depth" effect. I believe that in practice, most portable dosimeters assume a "whole body" dose, using the average human weight, beta/gamma radiation. So that

Sv = Bq absorbed by body * particle energy * 1 / body mass

But "Bq absorbed by body" is not the same as "Bq/square meter" of ground surface. it's no easy feat to convert between the two. You'd have to do some calculus. And in any case, inhaling small amounts of soil dust or eating contaminated crops changes things in ways you really can't calculate easily.

I have avoided trying to convert Bq/m^2 of contamination into sieverts of absorbed dose. I think the safest thing is to use the Chernobyl exclusion zone limits as safety guidelines.

The fact that all safety standards seem designed around such an unworkable measuring unit show how much this industry is plagued by obscurantism.

I think it just shows that the human body is a subtle and delicate machine.

Thanks ,

realised your same objections later on after posting during a walk outside ,

but you beat me to it ,

the mSv was an afterthought ,

I changed it to Joules ,

Too confusing for now.

Going to bed now , don't let my rant occupy you too much .

But "Bq absorbed by body" is not the same as "Bq/square meter" of ground surface.

If you are talking about external dose (betas enter your body from outside), it probablt depends upon the vertical distribution of the beta source in the soil. I wouldn't think it is all sitting on the surface, but distributed among several centimeters (or more of the soil). Any betas that came from more than a few millimeters underground will be stopped before coming out. I suspect thick clothing would mostly protect you from external beta radiation. So the real concern is ingestion and bioaccumulation, which I bet is a lot harder to figure from first principles.

So the real concern is ingestion and bioaccumulation, which I bet is a lot harder to figure from first principles.

It's more complex than that, just because you ingest something does not mean it will be retained. Plutonium for example does not get absorbed through the gut very well. Then assuming it does get into your system the is the question of how long it stays there, even if it is a bio-accumulative agent like iodine or strontium. With the exception of a few things like adult teeth most of the atoms in your body get swapped out every few years. Sorry for lack of specifics, it's been lots of years since I went to NBCW (nuke, biological, chemical , warfare) school as an army medic, but there is a large and depressing literature out there on the subject.

"Plutonium for example does not get absorbed through the gut very well"

Isn't that why the greater danger for Pu is breathing it in? A tiny particle lodged deep in a lung could stay there quite a while, radiating the surrounding tissue the whole time.

One PU-239-atom has a halflife of 24 000 years and it will decay (radiate) only once within this timespan. How old are you?
My point is we need a lot of Plutonium inside before there is any hazard at all- and even if it decays there is a good chance that nothing dire happens at all.

OK, here's a task for nuclear physicist. How many atoms must one have in a population (sample) to have a 95% chance of one or more decaying in a one year period? And if you have some chemistry too, convert to grams.

Yea, I could do it but I'm lazy and doing weekend housework. And I've not done it before and have a high error-rate when I don't do something very routinely.

Quite amazingly ,

but that would amount to an average of 3.17e-8 Bq ( 1 decay /year) ,

which computes to 1.37375e-17 Kg = 1.37375e-14 grams of Plutonium 239

(using the supplied calculator)


So when people make a fuzz about "was it 1 kg or 100 tons that got out ..?" ,

that's a difference of 5 orders of magnitude they are talking about.

This is 13 orders of magnitude below a single gram !!

We sure got a lot of poison stacked up there , just to boil a little water

Us humans are good at moving things around .

I've adjusted the calculator to a less controversial split between Bq to Kg , and Sv/hr to Gammas/second

Please advise on more inconsistencies ,


I appreciate the effort you have taken on:

Have you 'calibrated' it against known research about Polonium-210 - an intense alpha emitter:

The median lethal dose (LD50) for acute radiation exposure is generally about 4.5 Sv.[36] The committed effective dose equivalent 210Po is 0.51 µSv/Bq if ingested, and 2.5 µSv/Bq if inhaled.[37] Since 210Po has an activity of 166 TBq per gram (4,500 Ci/g)[37] (1 gram produces 166×1012 decays per second), a fatal 4.5 Sv (J/kg) dose can be caused by ingesting 8.8 MBq (238 microcuries, µCi), about 50 nanograms (ng), or inhaling 1.8 MBq (48 µCi), about 10 ng. One gram of 210Po could thus in theory poison 20 million people of whom 10 million would die. The actual toxicity of 210Po is lower than these estimates, because radiation exposure that is spread out over several weeks (the biological half-life of polonium in humans is 30 to 50 days[38]) is somewhat less damaging than an instantaneous dose. It has been estimated that a median lethal dose of 210Po is 0.015 GBq (0.4 mCi), or 0.089 micrograms, still an extremely small amount.[39][40]

The maximum allowable body burden for ingested 210Po is only 1.1 kBq (30 nCi), which is equivalent to a particle massing only 6.8 picograms. The maximum permissible workplace concentration of airborne 210Po is about 10 Bq/m3 (3 × 10−10 µCi/cm³).[44] The target organs for polonium in humans are the spleen and liver.[45] As the spleen (150 g) and the liver (1.3 to 3 kg) are much smaller than the rest of the body, if the polonium is concentrated in these vital organs, it is a greater threat to life than the dose which would be suffered (on average) by the whole body if it were spread evenly throughout the body, in the same way as caesium or tritium (as T2O).

Did you include the weighting factors for kind of radiation (Equivalency Weighting Factors) at http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Sievert#Definition ?

For beata particles it is 20...so dose equivalent would go up by factor of 20?

This isn't how radiation dispersion works ... it's not a fine mist that falls evenly over the landscape when the wind is blowing in your direction. It forms hot pockets based on topography, rainfall, other characteristics.

Didn't IAEA get a reading of 3.7 megabecquerel per square metre for Cs-137 at one site near the village of Litate? Under the rates suggested above, this would take 202 years to build up? And I thought the IAEA criterion for evacuation around Chernobyl exclusion zone was 1.48 megabecquerel per square metre (as cited in article). Maybe I'm missing something, I'm not the best one for keeping track of unit errors.

Didn't IAEA get a reading of 3.7 megabecquerel per square metre for Cs-137 at one site near the village of Litate?

Yes, my calculation uses only the data presented in the slides Euan linked, for sites fairly distant from Fukushima. I suspect that some land closer in (including the village of Iitate) will need be permanently closed, but my numbers do suggest that fears that all of northern Japan will be uninhabitable are probably overstated.

And I thought the IAEA criterion for evacuation around Chernobyl exclusion zone was 1.48 megabecquerel per square metre (as cited in article). Maybe I'm missing something, I'm not the best one for keeping track of unit errors.

The Chernobyl exclusion zone has a variety of sub-zones which are restricted to varying degrees. The "Confiscated/Closed Zone" is indeed at 1.48 MBq/m2; the "Periodic Control Zone" is at 185 kBq/m2. I'm not sure exactly what the restrictions in these zones are, so I picked the lowest controlled zone to be conservative.

A publication by the Swedish Radiation Safety Authority states that areas above 1.5 MBq/m2 of CS-137 are in principle evacuated/abandoned. Whereas areas above 0.5 MBq/m2 are under special restrictions.

( http://www.stralsakerhetsmyndigheten.se/Publikationer/Rapport/Stralskydd... )

Comparatively large areas in Sweden, Finland and Norway were due to winds and precipitation struck rather hard from radioactive fall-out. According to the above mentioned publication some 2 percent of Sweden received Cs-137 of 37-185 kBq/m2. Some areas had levels above 200 kBq/m2 (http://www.stralsakerhetsmyndigheten.se/Global/Publikationer/Tidsskrift/... )

I am not competent on the issue of health effects, but the same report states that the health effects in Sweden will be very small and that it is highly unlikely that it will by possible do observe any increase in cancer incidense in Sweden due to Chernobyl.

It should be noted though that there were some issues with food-stuff that became contaminated with Cs-137 above limit values. This mainly affected meat from rein-deer and mushrooms and berries and meat from game hunting. According to the second link above even 20 years after Chernobyl there was still a problem with rein-deer meat in some ares.

So a up to a couple of 100 kBq/m2 of Cs-137 does not seem to pose any great health risk, though it might in some cases result in a risk that foodstuffs could exceed limit values.

One study analysis I read said there were about, I forget 10 or 22 thousand excess cancer deaths over 15? years for the areas that received the contamination from Chernobyl contrasted with those that were irradiated. I forget the population number they were following also. Mostly I remember when they sorted out the areas that actually received contamination from those that didn't, there were ten(s) of thousands of excess cancers of the type you would expect the contamination to cause.

"Electric Funeral"

Reflex in the sky warn you you're gonna die
Storm coming, you'd better hide from the atomic tide
Flashes in the sky turns houses into sties
Turns people into clay, radiation minds decay

Robot minds of robot slaves lead them to atomic rage
plastic flowers, melting sun, fading moon falls upon
dying world of radiation, victims of mad frustration
Burning globe of oxy'n fire, like electric funeral pyre

Buildings crashing down to a cracking ground
Rivers turn to wood, ice melting to flood
Earth lies in death bed, clouds cry water dead
Tearing life away, here's the burning pay

Electric Funeral
Electric Funeral
Electric Funeral
Electric Funeral

And so in the sky shines the electric eye
supernatural king takes earth under his wing
Heaven's golden chorus sings, Hell's angels flap their wings
Evil souls fall to Hell, ever trapped in burning cells!

Any comments on Chris Busby's analysis here would be appreciated:


I'm wondering about translating dose readings into contamination levels. This will probably lead to a good estimate of the ultimate Cs137 problem after the I131 has decayed away. So I'm suspect that the the inferred contamination levels are too high.

But with stuff still spewing out and the wind shifting inland, how much of Japan becomes off limits for 300 years is still in the balance.

I am not sure how you can do any kind of study based upon the limited data available and short time. I think its premature.

As Ida-Ru said - it seems premature.

Busby has long been in the anti-nuclear camp and has done a lot of research on Chernobyl. He has self published a couple books. Evidently they were self published as peer reviewed journals would not accept his conclusions which have been characterized as extreme and erroneous.

During the present crisis he has found a new audience, but statements such as saying the fuel rods in the spent fuel pools have been "blown up in the air", when all evidence suggests the contrary, tend to makes his other conclusions open to question.

I think a lot of the claims that Chernobyl deaths exceed 1,000,000 comes from his work.

I also don't believe the pro-nuclear camp claims that deaths due to Chernobyl are 43 or a couple hundred. I expect the reality is probably in the 10s of thousands.

I think a lot of the claims that Chernobyl deaths exceed 1,000,000 comes from his work.

Why do you think that?

It seems much more likely that the most significant basis for those claims is the meta-analysis by Yablokov et al, published by the New York Academy:


I can't claim to any solid analysis of the documentation but Yablokov, et al, cited Busby at least 30 times in their their work.

They may have gotten those figures from others as well but I think a lot of their conclusions build on Busby's writings.

With a foreword by the Chairman of the Ukranian National Commission on Radiation Protection, Dimitro M. Grodzinsky, the 327-page volume is an English translation of a 2007 publication by the same authors. The earlier volume, “Chernobyl,” published in Russian, presented an analysis of the scientific literature, including more than 1,000 titles and more than 5,000 printed and Internet publications mainly in Slavic languages, on the consequences of the Chernobyl disaster.


The near shore currents from Fukushima run south along the coastline.
Japan has a very extensive mariculture industry, for molluscs and farmed fish, even for tuna through the entire life cycle, including reproduction, the latter still on a research basis.
This industry is now at risk, much like the local agriculture and dairy sectors.
Unfortunately, high levels of iodine probably also mean high levels of cesium, which means decades of contamination.
There is an absence of data on any other higher melting point contaminants, such as strontium, which is equally dangerous.

Here is the data on Cs-137 for the last week in the waters off Fukushima. Slide 7.

Radiation below legal limits found in farm, sea products near Fukushima

In Fukushima, 33 out of 49 vegetables and fruits had radioactive cesium and iodine but their levels were below the limits set under the food sanitation law, the Ministry of Health, Labor and Welfare said.
Four farm products in Niigata Prefecture, west of Fukushima, did not contain either of the radioactive substances, while cesium was detected in five marine products off the coast of Ibaraki Prefecture but was well below the limit.

Cesium uptake in many fish species appears to be linear over a period of 40 days (give or take), and is heavily dependent on concentration levels (with no saturation reached on uptake rates). Contamination goes pretty directly to muscle. More insights here if you're interested:


Contamination in fish is not starting to show up:

The Ibaraki fish association announced it detected a high contamination level of iodine 131 (4,080 Bq per kilogram) and cesium 137 (526 Bq per kilogram). The Ministry of Health and Welfare is now assembling an advisory committee to establish safety standards for radioactive contamination (only temporary standards exist now).

I wonder at what time they will realize that the horse has already escaped the barn and all their attempts to close the door are for naught. I do feel sorry for japan but this is getting close to comedic levels on trying to give the appearance that they still have control.

Cynics would say that this was evident on day 3 of the crisis, when TEPCO reportedly wanted to withdraw its workers from the site.
The decision to soldier on and try to work on peripheral issues, like getting power to ruined control rooms and desolate turbine halls must reflect a political choice.
It certainly does not seem part of a rational effort.

From what i understand the current japanese prime minister has had trouble before appearing 'weak' to his populace. I wonder if trying to fix this issue long after it's impossible to do so is his attempt to 'fix' his image rather then having his political carrier killed by the incident.

It's difficult to send worker on a suicide mission.

I guess the harm done will be hid as good as you can. Government will never admit a fault.

There is a 50% chance that it will continue as now and calm down. That would be nice. Only SOME cesium in the pacific. OK.

There is a 10-20-30 % risk that a pipe blows anytime, with massive effects. It is so stupid and weakly managed. Why dont they build dikes, why is there no ideas put forward (brain storming) and people working in parallel? Where are 500 people? Why are there not enough dosimeters and food for chrissake? Pathetic.

I've been trying to come up with a zinger for my overwhelmingly anti-BP cousin in New Orleans who's not following this BUT I've never been very good with simile.

TEPCO is making BP look like ____________

or even a Katrina reference...

Any help would be appreciated.

...like a model of competence and transparency?

maybe i should have asked for cliché...

Sadly, I'm too poorly enculturated to help with that. ;^)

TEPCO is making BP look like ____________

TEPCO is like BP, except that it glows in the dark, too.

Oh geez... my first thought was that they're both making Enron look like Boy Scouts. No one dies from imaginary energy production...

God, I hope they get the official government safe radiation limits raised before anything actionable happens.

Keidanren: Be prepared / Business group pushes plans for summer power shortage

Keidanren members, however, have expressed frustration with how TEPCO has managed the current rolling power cuts. "We can't operate our production equipment at full capacity because the power's out for three hours a day," an official of a major textile manufacturer said.
TEPCO is expected to have a capacity of only 45 million kilowatts this summer because of damage caused by the March 11 earthquake and tsunami and ongoing nuclear crisis. If this summer is as hot as last year, power demand could reach 60 million kilowatts, for which the industrial and other business sectors would account for about 60 percent.
Households, which eat up about 20 percent of the electricity supply, cannot cut power usage very much, but people will likely be urged to conserve as much as possible.

If you are in a tight spot. Sometimes tough decisions are needed. Maybe PM should start Daiichi 5 and 6 next week.

That's ridiculous. There are four reactors at Fukushima II that are not operating, three at Onagawa, and one at Tokai. Why would anyone even think of restarting a reactor at a damaged and contaminated plant that almost certainly hasn't had a thorough post-earthquake inspection when there are so many others not operating?

Those may be only the TEPCO reactors that are idle. Other power companies have reactors that have not been restarted. That plus the inability to shift power from the 60Hz region to the 50Hz region, makes the 50Hz region particularly vulnerable. It is amazing that they don't have a robust HVDC connection.

Nuke crisis in Fukushima forces utilities to delay restart of reactors

Most of those mentioned are in the 60Hz zone to the south and west. But there are three units at Kashiwazaki-Kariwa that are down, and that is in the 50Hz. So there are at least 11 reactors not operating in the 50Hz zone that aren't at Fukushima Dai-ichi.


I am also shocked by the lack of HVDC stations that can convert between the 60Hz and 50Hz regions of the Japanese grid.

I reviewed this article at Wikipedia:

I see a total of 1800 MW of Japanese HVDC capacity on that list. Sadly, I have no idea how comprehensive that list is.

To put that in perspective, I have tried to look for Tokyo's daily electricity requirements on the 50Hz portion of the grid. As near as I can tell Tokyo requires about 40,000 to 50,000 MW of electricity daily. The peak number I found for Tokyo was 64,500 MW in July 2001 on a particularly warm day.

Japan's available HVDC conversion capacity between the 50Hz and 60Hz sections of the grid is simply insufficient to meet Tokyo's needs even if unaffected areas can supply surplus electricity. It is no wonder rolling blackouts are planned for Tokyo through the summer months.

400Hz never even happened.
400Hz Power:

Seems like an intelligently structured *temporary* price hike would help reduce that excess demand.

"We can't operate our production equipment at full capacity because the power's out for three hours a day," an official of a major textile manufacturer said."

He's not kidding. Our plant takes three days to startup, and week to come to full capacity.

A lightning strike last summer blew away the local grid for 12 hours, and that had Management making official notifications to the financial regulators and the stockholders.

High-tech is not resilient to power outages.

Really, I think keeping the economy functioning has to take precedence over people watching plasma TV and doing laundry every time they wear something. Uses should be prioritized. Stuff like advertising lighting, and heavy illumination of store displays etc. should have low proirity, but critical industrial processes should have very high priority. Otherwise the disaster gets componded by high unemployment.

...keeping the economy functioning has to take precedence over people watching plasma TV and doing laundry every time they wear something.

Well, yes, but... so much of the economy depends upon plasma TV, washing machines, fancy detergents and fabric softeners, closets full of five changes of clothing per person/per day...

What we really need to do is prioritize and limit all consumption, production and reproduction. But, we've known that for decades, and we haven't done it yet.

"Households, which eat up about 20 percent of the electricity supply, cannot cut power usage very much, but people will likely be urged to conserve as much as possible."
7% of Japanese electrical consumption goes on heated toilet seats, They could start there.

You try living in a house with no central heating and no heated toilet seats.

BTW, that 7% number is ridiculous.

Moved. Asian toilet has NO SEAT!

Actually, a lot of folks there don't use the squatters any more.

Reference please?

And as to total consumption per capita.


In terms of per capita electricity consumption, the average person in Japan consumed 8,459 Kilowatt-Hours in 2004 compared to 14,240 for the average American. In that respect it ranked 18th among the countries of the world. Its per capita electricity consumption increased by 21.8% between 1990 and 2004.[3]

And according to the CIA World Fact Book, Japanese electrical usage was lower in 2009 (latest year given) than in 2004.

I can't find a reference to 7% which I saw when I was out there but this Washington Post article gives a figure of 4% of domestic electricity at a time, 2008, whem 69% of households had them.

I believe something like 80% of Japanese housholds now have them. Some of the newer ones use less power but most use about 75W and are left on continuously. That is 675kWh per year. Average domestic electrical use per household here in the UK is 4400kWh per year. Even if Japanese domestic consumption is higher my figure of 7% does not look wildly out.

As to living without central heating and heated toilet seats, central heating was rare in the UK when I was young and I was 25 before I lived
in a house with it. A personal preferance, but I hate the feel of the things. When I was out there I would always turn the things off in hotels but the cleaners would turn them back on.

This is such a stupid argument I hesitate even to reply.

A quick search tells me they draw much less than 75 watts and are controlled with a thermostat and have an auto shut off feature.

Do you really think a nation as energy conscience as Japan would be so wasteful with a toilet seat?

Hmmm. A good-sized heating pad (the kind you use on sore muscles) draws about 65-75 watts, maximum, IIRC.

Those toilet seats must be really warm.

Roast nuts



Heating a fairly large area like a seat without a body next to it to keep the heat in takes a fair power but heating the seat is only part of the power consumption. The seat shown in the link by Rethin is a very simple version. On most, not only is the seat heated, there is a tank of warm water to spray you clean with the spray adjustable in force and direction. The tank has little or no insulation as it has to fit in the back of the seat and so leaks heat. There is a hot air blower to dry you although this only consumes power when used. Some have self closing seats. Some store the preferences of individuals in the household and some play music to you when you are enthroned. As the Washington Post article says Ave Maria is a popular choice. The control panels to the more complex ones are something to behold and to a foreign visitor not reading Japanese, pressing the wrong button can cause surprises. All this capability requires control electronics which draws standby power.

Do I really think a nation as energy conscience as Japan would be so wasteful with a toilet seat? Yes Rethin, I do. The Japanese have on average a much more developed social conscience than most countries but like many nations they can have blind spots. It is easy for an individual not to realise the effect of their individual consumption multiplied by nearly every household in the country. The Japanese do seem to have a tendency to adopt new gadgets at a remarkable rate once they get a toe hold in the market and they do tend to elaborate the design to win market share and so it has been with toilet seats.

These things really are ubiquitous. On a recent visit I did not see a single toilet seat that was not heated and they were all permanently on. This included some people on a very modest income, A ski lodge at the top of a mountain and a solar and wind powered public toilet near a river in Tokyo.

It may seem risible to think about toilet seats at the time of such a crisis but at a conservative estimate of 200kWh per toilet seat per year in 40 million households it means that the outputs of reactors 1 and 2 at 90% load factor were used in effect to heat the toilet seats of the nation.

It remains the case that Japanese electrical consumption per capita is well down the developed countries list at Number 18. Maybe if they install a lot more general house heating and work their way up the table they can get rid of that little luxury and keep you happy?

Actually 200kwh a year seems pretty reasonable

And since the per capita energy usage in Japan is 8474kwh/year

That would put toilet seats at around 2% of energy usage if each and every one of the 127 million Japanese had their own personal seat.

In reality its far far less. Wikipedia says as of 2002 less than half of households had one of these toilets

Is the energy usage non zero? Yes. Is your 7% number bunk? Yes. Can you find a trivial use of electricity to get your panites in a bunch? Yes

Now if you really want a good example of wasteful electricity usage maybe you should concentrate on vending machines.

What percent even have Western commodes? 90% in the city but what about the country and poorer areas? The Asian toilet has NO SEAT. See thumbnail but it has been decades since I have been there.

Picture of Stephen Chapman at the AMRA 50th Anniversary Convention

Most of 'em live in cities and towns, most in big cities. In the decades since you were there, lots of Western commodes got installed.

Well if Nick is even close, sounds like Japan would have been better off keeping the toilets and giving the nuke plants back. So if the country folks now have plumbing, I bet the 'Honeybucket' truck no longer is used to fertilize the crops. That grossed me out even back in the '70's but such practices were even being stopped back then.

I'm more grossed out by a culture that shits in the drinking water. In the US, that's how we use about 25% of household water.

Then, we spend huge amounts of money and energy doing a crummy job of treating the wastewater before dumping it back into the environment, and use vast quantities of resources and energy to manufacture and transport fertilizer for our crops.

Composting toilets that wouldn't gross you out at all have been available for a very long time and, in most places, the output can be pasteurized by that big fusion reactor in the sky and safely applied to the garden.


Perhaps, but the dessication and composting process is important IMHO. You use a composting toilet at home?

Sure, the process is very important, but it's not hard or complicated.

I live, these days, in a condo within a stone's throw of San Francisco Bay. Shamefully, that irreplaceable treasure is where we all dump our sewage.

I've built composting toilets into two houses, one self-designed, one a fancy, expensive, commercial model.

See: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1HpqxidyN6I

The Humanure Handbook
by Joseph Jenkins

2nd edition available as a free download.

Everyone should at least be familiar with this information; even if they don't intend to act on it.

In complete peak-everything societal collapse, this information saves lives.

My wife gave out a half-dozen copies this Christmas.. we're hoping to adapt one Bathroom to this purpose, but have to figure out the placement of the Compost Containers.. (Small City-lot)

Might be some hurdles..

Good for you and your wife.

Excellent reference. As posted below, everyone should at least be familiar with this option.

Do they worry about electrical shorts?

LOL. Let's say it's a gadget-happy place. Some of those commodes have fairly elaborate control panels. For example, you might want to operate the ... bidet-thingy, which carries and sprays water regulated by an electric valve, and is moved into 'operating position' and retracted afterward by a little electric motor, and may well have an associated electric heater to get the water to a suitable and, um, non-shocking, tepid temperature.

Which is to say that unlike with the seat, you have electricity and water in very close proximity, and in three different respects at the same time. Then again, people have done that general sort of thing with fish tanks and swimming pools for many, many years, and it's not as though they're dying like flies from electric shock, or rampantly burning down houses with shorted fish tank pumps and heaters. So with respect to premature death, I'd worry more about real dangers, such as getting run over by a car, or maybe even being done in by a freakishly relocated blood clot after falling on, say, winter ice.

I understand. Occasionally, I dispense a little dry wit Brit humor.

Ha, ha. I had some other questions but it's best I not go down the red district path.

"Do they worry about electrical shorts?"

LOL, maybe they worry about color coordination re their electrical attire...

It is true that the Japanese, collectively, are in love with technology and have produced a wide range of reliable, robust, and cost effective technology - as well as any number of gadgets from the cool to the silly. I suspect that the Fukushima disaster reflects, to some degree, an inordinate faith in their technological skill. Management probably believed that the engineering solutions in place to mitigate risk of an accident were sufficient for any contingency. Likely their disaster preparedness was inadequate and short-sighted in part as a consequence of this attitude. They are not alone in such faith-based attitudes.

?- )

Many notherners who have/had outdoor facilities found a styrofoam seat heats rapidly enough to allow a comfortable stay--once the posterior melts through the -30F frost that may have grown on it.

I found my thermal 'mass' was able to warm up even a conventional Toilet Seat in an Outhouse pretty quick.. I just had to take those first 500 to 750 milliseconds as opportunities for Character-building.

It would be better to squat than to sit with one's buttocks on a seat anyway.

Health Benefits of the Natural Squatting Position

First time I used a styro seat I'd decided my character needed no more building--lots and lots of years of outdoor 'plumbing' in northern and far northern regions before I thought to shape a polystyrene 'donut.' A quick insertion of the 'donut' into a fairly 'cool' wood stove sealed it nicely. Later on I saw the product available commercially. At -20 to -40F we were talking multiple seconds not millis to warm a conventionaly seat.

And Merril over a hole on an icy or mounded snowpacked floor in an outhouse could be one treacherous place to try and squat. Nothing like a good warm and low styro seat to let you really relax (often with the Aurora blazing outside the open door) and avoid most of the problems the squatters say the sitters are prone to ?- )

Would scanning your feces with a Geiger-Muller be a help? For real, or too late by then? Asian toliet is better suited.

Disaster legislation 'to nationalize land'

A key part of a special legislative package for disaster reconstruction will place land that was wrecked by the March 11 tsunami and has been abandoned by disaster victims under state ownership, it has been learned.

The government and Democratic Party of Japan are working on a set of bills to help with the rebuilding of regions struck by the disaster and hope to pass the package by the end of the month, government sources said Thursday.

Many tsunami-devastated coastal communities have been largely depopulated and are unlikely to be revived because of the severity of the disaster, the sources said. In addition to the areas laid waste by the tsunami, the ongoing crisis at the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant could leave large tracts of land abandoned for a long period of time.

Some of the agricultural land along the coast is permanently under water. Besides moving 8 - 13 feet east, the coast also dropped about 4 - 5 feet -- around a 1.5 meter sea level rise effectively.

For those wishing to see inside plant photos, this site has an Areva commentary which has a few photos.


Pretty good at explaining what might have happened.

also there is this old article.

The Areva presentation is an excellent summary. Thanks.

Yes, it is well done, but keep in mind a couple of things:

1. Just becasue you put it in a PowerPoint with pretty graphics does not make the content any more factual.
2. Areva is not a neutral party, they've got a lot at stake regarding how public opinion of nuclear power goes after this.

I think everyone knows who Areva is.

At least they have seen the inside of the building before commenting on what MIGHT have happened.

I think that Areva is probably already jockeying to remake itself as the the world's premier radiation contamination mitigation company--a fabulous new growth industry.

Not sure about the growth, but at least it offers serious job security...

It's clear from numerous news reports that Areva is doing exactly that. I agree that the growth potential would be limited, if it depended upon new nukes in the West, but China won't stop building and we have plenty of old BWR facilities that are candidates for similar opportunity.

I should have included /sarc to the end of my post.

Are you still considering urban settings as more resilient, K, in light of the most recent disasters?

Well, depending upon the nature of the disaster...

Certainly, I still think cities are necessary for complex civilization, and an absolute requirement for a world populated by 7 billion humans.

OTOH, it would be difficult to be too optimistic about the sustainability of a world of cities dependent upon and downwind/downstream of monsters like this.

Areva summary is fine … but I see two major problems (and one notable oversight).

- ECCS could not be operated at Reactor #1 when there was still power from back-up systems. Some speculation regarding LOCA event as a result of earthquake.

- There is no venting pathway from the primary containment vessel to the reactor service floor (or secondary containment), where hydrogen explosions took place in 1 and 3. NEI reports this pathway goes "outside the reactor building." And UCS reports: "primary containment is vented through the reactor building charcoal filter system before flowing through the lines to the stack" [located outside of the reactor building]. Speculation (here and here), hydrogen gas collected at top of containment vessel (since hydrogen is very light), and was blown through flange of containment closure head when pressure exceeded design tolerances by a factor of 2. Safety test at Brunswick BWR plant in North Carolina suggests this is a likely possibility.

- And I'm pretty disappointed they don't hazard a guess with Reactor #2: "No clear information's [sic.] why Unit 2 behaved differently." There was obviously a leak somewhere and hydrogen gas found some oxygen in the lower levels of the containment structure, and exploded. I'm willing to hazard a guess this is also likely the result of additional damage from initial earthquake or aftershocks.

There is speculation out there that the hydrogen was not vented out the stack because the fans drawing it were without power. I do not know if this is true but generally speaking ventilation control plays a large role in reactor contamination control.

There is no physical pathway to vent gas from the primary containment vessel to the reactor service floor (or secondary containment). Please find me one, because this is one of the biggest inconsistencies I have seen in the reporting for this accident. Many BWRs were retrofitted with a hard vent. This goes to the outside environment. It is very robust, and doesn't require fans to operate. The standby gas treatment system is part of the secondary containment venting system, and is designed to keep the building at negative pressure during an accident, so that radioactive contamination doesn't leak to the outside environment. Anybody contemplating venting hydrogen gas into a confined space where oxygen hasn't been removed would be making an operator error (since you are creating the conditions for an explosion to take place). And you would also be flooding a major working area of the reactor building with a great deal of radioactivity and rendering it permanently off limits. THEY DIDN'T DO THIS!! If something can't physically be done, repeating it over and over again in the press doesn't make it true. Why can't we take the NEI at it's word on this, or anybody else who actually knows how these reactors are designed.

THIS IS MY CHALLENGE - find me a pathway, and I'll drop the issue. If you can't, you are simply repeating a lie!

So I'm not 100% clear what your question is, but UCS had an article about how the reactor building exploded dated March 18.


Yes ... I agree with this assessment. Indeed, I linked to this exact article in my comments above (and another supporting link).

The issue raised by Ida-russkie, Areva, and numerous other press reports suggests that operators deliberately vented gas from the primary containment structure to the reactor service floor. They did not. Instead, the build-up of gas in secondary containment was an indication of a loss of containment (as suggested by the UCS), or a pipeline break in venting pathway (as suggested by by New York Times). Why does this matter, because we keep reading over and over again that operators did what it was impossible for them to do, and that the primary containment vessels of all the reactors survived the earthquake, tsunami, and full station blackout as designed (when it appears that all three of them failed ... but not in the same way).

Unless there is a pathway that someone can point out for the Areva storyline ... it is a made up story (and fantasy has no place in reactor operations or post-accident assessments of design flaws). I'd also like to think fantasy and lies have no place in journalism too, but this apparently does not appear to be the case.

I think I see what you are getting at - what exactly was this venting system that passed to this area? It shows up on slide 22 of the Areva PowerPoint as if it is an installed system. Are there other diagrams that show it? Why would there be a system to vent into the service floor area anyway - isn't the intent of those towers outside to vent externally and raise it above the level where personnel are?

For the design basis and subsequent retrofits to the Mark I containment vessel, you can consult this document: "Mark I Containment Report." It describes the history of the design, why early testing in 1975 deemed the design basis and safety systems for different accident scenarios to be inadequate, and the retrofits that were required in the US by NRC. There were primarily two recommendations in the US to deal with these design basis inadequacies:

1) Operator training on a methodology to use "auxiliary equipment that is not driven by normal plant power sources to provide makeup water to the reactor vessel/containment."

2) Addition of containment venting capability. "This containment vent was designed as a hard pipe that would discharge from the containment in the case of a BWR from the wetwell or drywell, and discharge to an elevated release, such as the plant stack … this vent allows operators to protect the integrity of the primary containment as well as preventing a ground-level release for the severe accident scenarios beyond the design and licensing basis." Attachment 5 includes additional details on the hardened vent: "Hardened meant that the vent would transport hydrogen, steam and other accident products and release them outside the reactor building" [emphasis my own].

There is no venting pathway to the secondary containment structure in BWRs. It's simply impossible to do. Which means the design basis for this accident was inadequate, and points once again to long standing and inherent (widely documented at the time) flaws in the Mark I containment vessel design. It seems to me the press, Areva, IAEA, GE, TEPCO, and a host of others need to start reporting on the credible facts regarding the operation of these reactors, and not misleading lies and faulty (impossible to take place) accident scenarios.

And I'll state the policy and industry implications of this out loud: if the design basis for the Mark I containment vessel design is inadequate, meaning it doesn't do it's job to prevent the release of reactor water or fission products under many commonly anticipated accident scenarios (loss-of-coolant-accident, seismic loads, dead loads, jet-impingement loads, station blackout, and hydrostatic loads due to water in the suppression chamber), where do we find the assurances that these Mark I containment vessel designs are safe, and what are we to do with the 23 reactors in the US that do not currently meet design criteria for accident safety, and have long-standing (and widely documented) engineering flaws? The stakes are very large.

The narrative is that the operators chose to use this venting system into the upper floors of the reactor building, and that it was a reasonable thing for them to do given the circumstances, blah blah blah. That's a viable story if such a system existed, and just because it seems non-intuitive does not mean it is not there. But it's a key question, because if such an internal venting system does not exist then the whole story would be nonsense, and some other explanation for the release would need to be concocted. One that likely does not involve choices.

The main steam system appears to have 7 penetrations of primary containment. The RCIC system appears to have another 3 or so. Add in the Reactor Water Cleanup System and various piping for cooling and hydraulic control systems.

According to accounts of the earthquake, personnel in the reactor building observed broken pipes. Depending on the state of the pipes and valves, it is not implausible that the hydrogen flowed from the primary containment into the secondary containment and then to the upper floor.

Or are you questioning the basic sequence, i.e. that they did not first release pressure and that the release then caused the hydrogen explosion.

The storyline in many press and industry assessments (and in the Areva materials above) is that operators deliberately vented hydrogen gas to secondary containment. There is no pathway for doing this, so it could not be done (and this narrative is inaccurate). All of the pathways you have indicated for seals, gaskets, flanges, and other penetrations of primary containment imply leaks or a loss of containment (or a design basis failure). This is what we are talking about. Why is this so hard for some to follow (I believe I am writing in clear and easy to understand English)? Was the release of gas intentional (through an established pathway), or a failure of design in the containment or safety systems of these reactors?

There has been speculation that over-pressuring the reactor vessel could lead to leakage of seals around the vessel cap. TEPCO was clearly aware of the risk of a hydrogen explosion, however the fact that workers were injured when unit 1 exploded (maybe 3? I don't recall) and 11 (Wiki says 6 SDF workers were killed) in the explosion of unit 3 strongly suggests that the leak path was not expected/planned, hydrogen levels could not be monitored, and the accident progression was not anticipated. Design failure/loss of containment.

"I'd also like to think fantasy and lies have no place in journalism"

Oh how sweeeet...*pats idyl on the head*

Sorry, I thought you were saying hydrogen couldn't have leaked from the core into the building (and therefore hydrogen must have come from a different source like the spent fuel pool or the super secret bottle labled "in case of emergency blow up building")--and I did check the 3 links most directly associated with UCS in your first post, missed the last one.

re I'd also like to think fantasy and lies have no place in journalism too, but this apparently does not appear to be the case.

Please calm down, if it's not too much trouble.

When I was very very little, fantasy and lies didn't have any place in journalism.

Where fantasy and lies was used was called propaganda.

[reference needed]

References include every article or industry report that suggests operators vented gas into secondary containment building and Mark I containment vessels held pressure at time of the accident. A select list:

- Areva: "The Fukushima Daiichi Incident" (Slide 22)
- GE: "White Paper on Mark I Containment."
- The Economist: "The post-earthquake nuclear crisis" (March 15).
- MIT: "Explanation of Hydrogen Explosions at Units 1 and 3" (March 15).
- PBS: "Boiling Water Reactors 101: Science, Health Concerns of Japan's Nuclear Plants" (March 14).
- Bakersfield Californian (how this gets filtered through local presses): "Engineering lessons from Japan's tragedy" (March 23).
- I could go to the blogs too … and show where these statements are repeated over and over again, but I think you get the point.

IAEA gets it right: and simply refers to "venting" and "controlled release of vapor" and does not suggest operators deliberately flooded reactor servicing floor and secondary containment (through some mysterious pathway). All you had to do was go to TEPCO press releases and realize venting went outside the reactor buildings, and that evacuation orders were part of mandated measures to prepare for this controlled release of radioactive gases and fission products to the environment.

I would like to know why Building #4 exploded.

From what I have read, the pool waste overheated, which COULD have given rise to hydrogen gas which subsequently exploded. Not clear where the hydrogen came from.

The hydrogen gas comes from the reaction between the zircaloy cladding and the cooling water at high temperature.


If you look at the overhead photos which show both 3 and 4, it looks as though 4 was hit by a pressure wave from an explosion at number three. The north side of 4 is pushed in, and the roof framing is collapsed in a horizontal plane. Undertow has mentioned that the earthquake sloshed water out of the SPF in 4, and workers fled the building, but they would have had time to get back into an intact building after the wave. I postulate that the explosion at 3 slammed 4 hard...(fill in)...then there was hydrogen, then the roof got lifted some and flopped down on the east side of number 4.

(edit) Another explanation for damage to the north side of 4 is that something heavy fell through the roof and pulled the north wall of 4 in--but I think the way the concrete is pushed in, it was lateral force from blast at 3.

Geez. Seems plausible to me. Man o man.

Geez is right. Fratricide was not in the nuclear engineer's handbook before this. The explosion(s?) at 3 sent heavy material a thousand feet in the air, easy to see, but from the images, 3's energy also went sideways, as if the concrete building cells focused the energy sideways as well as up.

The reactors being packed so close together
also makes it much harder to do things.
Putting a dome over one might be within reason, for example.
But there is no clear area around any one of them to do that.
Building a simple containment dam around one of them...
But not around the whole facility.
They do not seem to share resources, either, these reactors.
They each have their own everything? So no over-riding need for a compact installation? The facility is surrounded by undeveloped land.

Perhaps future reactors should sit in a containment, like a tank does.
Perhaps this containment should be high walls with ramps up the sides and a road on the top so that the reactor can be buried.

But, really, what else gives the energy density of nuclear?

Perhaps there should be a place to put the post-it note warning the future.

Watching at the time that Three went there were three seperate loud bangs over a couple of seconds, since they first showed film theyve been showing it without sounds, and with the implication there was only one explosion

Thanks. I like the explanation of #3 shock wave blowing off #4 roof and damaging north wall. Unfortunately the timeline suggests something different. #3 exploded at 11:15 a.m. on Mar. 14. #4 exploded 20 hours later at 6:00 a.m., followed by explosion of #2 a few minutes later (which mysteriously did not damage #2 roof). Maybe I'm easily baffled. Hydrogen vented from a reactor meltdown can be 1000-ft pillar of smoke and debris (#3), or a little fart of no consequence(#2), or a spent fuel explosion that blows the roof off (#4)?

Mostly I'm puzzled why #2 is the hottest, most dangerous, probably breeched its steel containment vessel -- exploded on Mar. 15 yet has a complete roof?

It is believed the explosion occurred inside the primary containment structure.

Was there supposed to be oxygen in the torus? If not that would imply the containment failed before the explosions.

Potential Correction to previous reports (at least what I believe was reported). The Avera slide show graphic suggests the explosion in reactor 2 took place just outside of the suppression pool (aka wet well/torus): http://energyfromthorium.com/2011/03/30/areva-fd-presentation/

This NYT article appears to be about the Avera slide show: http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/science/03meltdown.html?hp

It's believed the blast occurred in the base of the primary containment structure. It was at first assumed to be another H2 explosion. I wonder if it could have been a steam explosion due to molten material and water suddenly meeting.

Possible sequence:

#3 explosion sends concrete sections and blast into north side of #4. See photos, parts of reinforced columns from #3 thrown halfway to #4, possibly restrained by rebar in column so initially the top of column rotates down to create a trajectory angled downwards. The west and north side columns got blown out at the tops and peeled off the building to lay down.

#4 north wall hit very hard by blast, leaving impact marks on wall, snapping the reinforced columns, and the upper part of the wall folds over and down, pulling part of the roof down in, where it still is. On the north west corner the roof framing shows lateral deformation consistent with a side impact.

Inside the upper floors of #4, the possible effects of the impact will have been to throw heavy equipment and supplies around, fracture concrete, deflate seals holding water in the SPF, start fires, and block access to SPF. Darkness, rubble, and fires. Water drains away or boils way...fuel heats up...Zr + H20 >>> Hydrogen.

Some hours later, hydrogen explosion lifts most of the intact roof up and flops it over on the east side of #4. where it still is. Less or no explosion on north side because H2 is venting through hole made previously.

If the explosion of reactor 3 punctured the wall or roof of reactor 4, then the hydrogen could not build up in reactor 4. The hydrogen would vent to the atmosphere preventing an hydrogen explosion.

Inside reactor #4, if loaded, was approx 44 tons of Zr. It was offloaded into the SPF, stored with another load. Tonnage Zr unknown, but large.

Zr + 2 H20 = ZrO2 + 2 H2 (highly exothermic)

1 ton of Zr will yield approx 44 kg H2, which at 0.09 kg/m3, is around 500 m3 H2 per ton of Zr. If the Zr cooked off rapidly, it could fill the two top floor even if it was flowing out the north end.


I am mostly just looking at the pictures. #4 got hit hard by #3, then #4 cooked off. Occam's.

What photos? I have not seen any photos of reactor 4 in the time between the explosion in reactor 3 and whatever happened in reactor 4. Reactor 4 was described as having a fire and not an explosion. The explosion at reactor 3 threw much debris around the site, but the "fire" at reactor 4 generated rubble around the perimeter of the building instead of flying debris. Look at the debris on the roofs of the turbine buildings. The pattern shows that it came from reactor 3. There are also wall segments still attached to the upper part of reactor 4, but not on reactors 1 and 3 which did explode. There may have been a hydrogen fire in reactor 4 which created less explosive pressure than at reactors 1 and 3.

If you look at the Cryptome photos of reactor building 4 you will note that the roof structure is domed upwards as would be caused by an explosion rather that fire but not by the explosion of no 3.


Here is a Digital Globe photo taken on March 14, 2011, a few minutes after reactor 3 exploded. The upper part of reactor 4's wall facing reactor 3 is not caved in proving that it did not collapse from a shock wave or debris from the other reactor.


" proving that it did not collapse from a shock wave or debris from the other reactor."

--at the time of the Mar 14 sat photo. Agree, and thankyou BT for pointing this out. #4 looks good, except for smoke. But what pushed in #4's north wall, or am I just lousy at reading these photos? Suction after a H2 blast pulls it in?

I'd like to see a picture of the south side of #3 taken at the same time as as the Mar 14 photo, and compare it with a later image.

Then we have this from the Guardian:

"Early on Tuesday, the power plant in the country's stricken north-east was rocked by an explosion at the No 2 reactor, the third blast at the site in four days. That was followed by a fire that broke out at the No 4 reactor unit, which appeared to be the cause of today's radiation leaks." http://www.guardian.co.uk/world/2011/mar/15/japan-nuclear-plant-third-ex...

Reports are an "explosion was heard" at #2 around 6:10 JST 3/15 and that fire broke out at #4 at around 6:10 JST 3/15 and then radiation levels went high and TEPCO evacuated most workers.

Outside of #2 looks pretty good for an explosion. What if #3 SPF went off, and that is what they heard? The north wall of #4 looks really pushed in--the concrete columns would have had to snap. And the scrape marks. http://cryptome.org/eyeball/daiichi-npp/daiichi-photos.htm

Look carefully at the Digital Globe image and you will see a cloud between the satellite and the site plus steam coming from building 3 rather than smoke.

Look at the Cryptome image and you will see that the wall that looks like it falling in is in fact blown out and only the top part is hanging back in.

If holes were blown in #4 it would be difficult to create explosion conditions.


The explosion in reactor 2 coincided with the pressure in the primary containment vessel dropping to below atmospheric pressure (the pressure transducer broke?). I suspect that explosion was the suppression chamber rupturing which was not powerful enough to blow the concrete containment apart.

I agree with NAOM. The wall of reactor 4 beneath the section that collapsed inward looks pushed outward. It looks like a force on the second floor from the top pushed the wall outward but did not have enough force to collapse the wall. This bowed the header at the top of wall outward breaking most of the roof joists attached to it. The strain where the cross walls attach to the header then pulled the upper section back but without the roof joists for support, the wall passed vertical falling inward. I do not want to describe the force as an explosion because intense heat from a fire might be enough to bow the wall outward and break some, but not all, of the supports. A hydrogen fire fueled by superheated spent fuel rods might burn hotter than a wooden fire.

There are also explosive debris trails visible around unit 4. There was a documented explosion that blew out a couple of wall panels a day after unit 3 blew up, but there must have been at least one more subsequent explosion that destroyed the roof and blew the walls out.

Thanks. I like the explanation of #3 shock wave blowing off #4 roof and damaging north wall. Unfortunately the timeline suggests something different. #3 exploded at 11:15 a.m. on Mar. 14, #4 exploded 20 hours later at 6:00 a.m., followed by explosion of #2 a few minutes later which mysteriously did not damage #2 roof. Maybe I'm easily baffled.

Mostly I'm puzzled why #2 is the hottest, most dangerous, probably breeched its steel containment vessel -- exploded on Mar. 15 yet has a complete roof?

Reactor #1 is the hottest. A convenient site below for pressure, temperature, and water level readings for the three units:


Reactor 2 sustained some damage when reactor 3 exploded. If I remember correctly, 4 out of 5 firetrucks that were pumping water were destroyed. At reactor 2 one of the diesel powered water pumps in a firetruck ran out of fuel. The circulation of sea water through reactor 2 stopped for about 140 minutes. A worker also closed a valve that was venting steam which caused a problem after they restarted the water flow. These pair of mistakes caused the water level to drop exposing the fuel rods and probably causing a partial core meltdown. Corium may have flowed down into the suppression chamber and ruptured it cause the explosion in reactor 2. Alternately, pressure and heat resulting from the interruption in coolant flow may have ruptured the suppression chamber.

The IAEA slide 3 says levels of 0.01 to 0.49 M Bq/m2 which is much higher than the values shown on slides 5 and 6.

Maybe they got their sums wrong somewhere? Or Slides 5 and 6 are showing detail on the places where they found nothing much, while the detail of the heavily contaminated places is not shown.

Attempt To Pour Concrete On Fukushima Pit Crack Generating 1 Sievert/Hour Fails;

After prior reports that radiation in and around Fukushima had breached the dreaded barrier of 1 sievert/hour were attributed to some PR apparatchik not knowing how to carry the decimal comma, we once again get confirmation that previous attempts to refute what some saw merely as scaremongering, were in fact more lies. According to Reuters, the soon to be nationalized TEPCO said it had found a crack in the pit at its No.2 reactor in Fukushima, generating readings 1,000 millisieverts (1 sievert) of radiation per hour in the air inside the pit. "With radiation levels rising in the seawater near the plant, we have been trying to confirm the reason why, and in that context, this could be one source," said Hidehiko Nishiyama, deputy head of the Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA), said on Saturday. He cautioned, however: "We can't really say for certain until we've studied the results." Since at this point nobody believes anything coming out of Japan and TEPCO, most are just expecting for the concrete to come: "TEPCO has begun pouring concrete into the pit to stop the leak, he said." Alas, as always happens when horrible plans go awry, this latest attempt to fix the problem with the nuclear (pardon the pan) "solution" is failing. "Public broadcaster NHK said late on Saturday that water was preventing the concrete from hardening and the pit was still leaking." In other words, recent horrendously planned attempts to cool the reactor by pumping water on it may well scuttle the Plan Z option of entombing the reactor. And if that doesn't work, then Japan is straight out of plans.

Looks like trouble ahead..

(insert source - link here ... )


"Apartment manager attempts to fix pool leak" might be better title.

Two part epoxy would have stood a chance.
Two part silicone rubber is flexible and compliant.
Cover the patch with long heavy paper bags of calcium oxide (CaO)
and there will be lots of heat for the cure cycle.

A common sense solution would be to pour in clean water next to the crack so that the water level remains constant while pumping the radioactive water out of the facility.

Better to use something like this:


GREAT STUFF™ Pond & Stone is a polyurethane-based insulating foam sealant designed for use in water features. By expanding to fill gaps and cracks, it works as a waterproof sealant to help direct the flow of water in waterfall, pond and streambed construction to go where you want it to go, not under or behind rocks. The foam is black to blend in among the stones and shadows. It cures in 8 hours to create a permanent, water-shedding bond for stone, rock, masonry, concrete and most other building materials. It's perfect for water features from fountains to koi ponds because it's safe for fish. UL Classified.

Great Stuff is right up there with duct tape in terms of its kludge-worthiness.

In an earlier thread, I responded to paleo's question... You mean the equilibrium temperature, I assume?

I replied....

No, I meant ambient; equilibrium wouldn't experience changes when isolated from it's surroundings. In this instance, cooling of objects inside of the reactor/pools and building is necessary.

If they used gel-like, boron-doped polyethylene, the idea is to:

1) pump it into areas where it displaces/replaces water and insulates various object from one another, potentially allowing those object to cool down faster. Maybe add an external means (refrigeration) to help the poly set/harden/cool.

2) boron-doped polyethylene could absorb/trap neutrons - helping to cease any new fission reactions.

If no thermal reactions are able to occur because the internal objects are being insulated from one another, if it's buried - it will remain at ambient temperature - which will always, hopefully, be less than the temperature needed to produce fission.

Shrug, shrug.

Polyethylene, even in a gel-like state is probably less soluble than concrete. Don't know, have to ask a plastics expert.

Just wondering here. Does anyone currently produce a gel-like, boron-doped polyethylene, and, how long would it take to tool up to make this in the quantity needed?

A gel-like polyethylene would be a polyethylene wax.
It's made when polyethylene is thermally decomposed into shorter chains.
It is O.K. to call it paraffinic or a paraffin wax:
Paraffin refers to alkanes.
A little boron powder:
Nawww... to pricy... try:
Big mixer...

(Here are polyethylene slabs with boron:
http://www-eng.lbl.gov/~dw/projects/DW4132_BORG_Fission_Source/bor%20PE.pdf )

Thanks. That could be the ticket to getting the cracks sealed up, perhaps.

Burns real good, though.

I believe boron is a fire retardant additive.

I know that it is a good flame retardant, but its use here is as a neutron absorber.

Is there more water storage higher than the leak point or are they just wanting to change the leak location to keep it out of the sea?

And does anyone have any links to a site plan or any blueprints of Daiichi? Man would that be great...

I still say try fothering http://www.titanic-titanic.com/forum/viewtopic.php?f=3&t=2818 Don't forget to use something to fulfill the role of the sail!!

Note that it worked for Captain Cook, so it is tried and true!

Cook described the process:
“The leak now decreaseth but for fear it should break out again we got the Sail ready fill’d for fothering. The manner this is done is thus, we Mix ockam & wool together and chop it up small and than stick it loosly by handfulls all over the sail and throw over it sheeps dung or other filth. Horse dung for this purpose is the best. The sail thus prepared is hauld under the Ships bottom by ropes and if the place of the leak is uncertain it must be hauld from one part of her bottom to another until the place is found where it takes effect; while the sail is under the Ship the ockam & ca. is washed off and part of it carried along with the water into the leak and in part stops up the hole.” (Cook, Journals, 1, 12-13 June 1770)

Horse dung for this purpose is the best.

Well, no shortage of that if they just cut up a stack of TEPCO press releases

Oh no, Budweiser is the best, Nuclear Hamster

last I read they were following your advice

TOKYO — The effort to contain Japan's nuclear crisis on Sunday came to this: Engineers mixed together sawdust, shredded newspapers and chemicals used in diapers in the hopes that would plug a radioactive leak into the sea. (my emphasis)

from MSNBC

No that would be bull dung.

There are cement admixtures that will harden despite being underwater. Normal cement will become too dispersed in an all water environment and won't harden at all. They can't just go to a cement plant and bring a batch of standard cement to fill this crack; they need a low w/c ratio (water/cement) mixture with a fast hardening agent, perhaps with large aggregate sizes so the cement will have something to 'catch' on in the crack.

I completely agree I find it is just painful to hear how things are done.
In our local hardware store is on sale 1 liter bottles with this salt solution that I mix with cement instead of water to make it harden fast (really amazing like 1-2 minutes and it is hard) also under wet conditions (even if water leaks in it says on the bottle). What are these guys doing over there? Go ask a cement guy what you need and do it!

Edit: they might in defense also say it is cold over there, standard cement works best above 8-10 degrees C, some 50? F or so. That could be a problem as it is about these temperatures at the plant, daytime.

I shouldn't think the ambient air temp should make any difference here. That grout should be really rich and make a lot of heat. There should be plenty of heat nearby, as well, doncha think? I dont know.

Concrete creates it's own heat, Hoover dam was still a bit hot last time I read about it. It cannot set with water pouring through it though, sitting in water is OK but dumping it into a river? They should get it in bags just like Home Depot sells and leave it in the bags intact and dump it in that way.It would not get diluted that way. It would basically be sand bags that harden over time.

Also, I think it is important to not forget logistics here. I dont know the quantity of grout they may need here,but, I dont think hauling in a pickup or two of 80 lb bags of grout and one of those electric mixers will suffice. Hauling in and setting up a concrete batch plant, under normal conditions, is a pretty involved undertaking. You have to stockpile aggregate and cement in an area where the infrastructure is a mess, not to mention the environment. Just sayin.

Where is Halliburton when you need them?

Heh! Heh! I know, huh.

*After prior reports that radiation in and around Fukushima had breached the dreaded barrier of 1 sievert/hour*

Yes, please provide the source.

Reuters: the 1 Sievert level has been reached:


*Probably has been for a longer time*

Chernobyl jumpstyle now needed....

Jumpers/sponges already being recruited. See yesterday's thread.

In Chernobyl they used 500.000 men to build the enclosure for only one reactor...
Also because robotics broke down there due to hight radiation.

Hopefully the Japs get some robotics going on here, or force people on the job.
Cause I don't think it's possible to hire that amount of people at free will, no matter what the pay is.


NY Times also says 1,000 millisieverts per hour from statement given by Nishiyama of NISA. Test of water showed 1 million bequerels per liter of Iodine-131.
Reactor Pit Found Leaking Radioactive Water Into Sea

They now plan to use baby diapers (or polymeric water absorbent material) followed by sawdust, paper and cement. It sounds like they now have BP and Halliburton working on the job ... with these latest echos of the "junk shot" in the Macondo blow out.

The utility known as TEPCO deployed the absorbent called ''water gel bag,'' which contains polymeric materials used for diapers, as its efforts to encase the pit's fracture in concrete failed on Saturday.

"They now plan to use baby diapers"

Hehe...the accident is now officially a stinking mess!

Gadzooks! Not poly absorbent, they need high-density, water-resistant, poly material. Won't sawdust, paper, salt water, radiation, etc. eventually deteriorate the material, leaving weak spots, or voids for fungi to infiltrate? Think Swiss Cheese.

Cross our fingers that they know what they are doing.

Think the 'Atomic Boy' vids are affecting their thinking some?

The NYTs reports they have pumped at least some radioactive water onto a barge:
"On Saturday, contaminated water was transferred onto a barge to free up space in other tanks on land. A second barge also arrived. "http://www.nytimes.com/2011/04/03/world/asia/03japan.html?_r=1&hp

I have not found confirmation of actual loading but NHK World English confirms consideration of US barges and a megafloat, currently used as part of a deep sea fishing park (you couldn’t make this stuff up).

This is more important than it seems. One of the biggest risk remaining is the failure to control on-site radiation levels, which could prevent access to disintegrating equipment.

At one point someone (Paleocon I think) had made a comment about running the contaminated water in hoses (or I imagine tanks could be used) under the sea, and recirculating it for re-use once it had sufficiently cooled. This would reduce the total amount of water needing to be pumped and removed for storage.

Can anyone comment?

Sure, theoretically, that would work well. Capture the cooling water at each point of application (maybe have to construct some impoundment structures--not trivial), feed it all into manifolds feeding the input to, say, a barge with lots of surface area, maybe run it through submerged coils on the way back to the plant for further cooling, into another (set of) manifold(s) and back into the pumps.

It's just a matter of engineering, logistics and time. Like most of the other good ideas for cooling we've seen here, "the time" to begin implementation (if the PTB thought it could be effective and intended to take such measures) was a couple of weeks ago.

So long as accumulating radiation can be cleared from the reactor site many options are available. I can not imagine they would not filter the water prior to reuse, otherwise it keeps getting more radioactive. Personally, I think the barge option is best as it allows radiation to be moved away from the site. Removal to an undamaged processing facility also seems to have benefits.

Yup. I forgot filtration.

running the contaminated water in hoses (or I imagine tanks could be used) under the sea, and recirculating it for re-use once it had sufficiently cooled.

Good idea, but given they now have barges there with a connection one way, a smarter variant on this idea might be to connect the other way as well, from the 'opposite corner' - barges have large contact areas, so will cool quite well, and much higher volumes cooling than pipes under the sea.

Japan Quake 'Most Significant' Supply Chain Disruption Ever: IHS

Along with plant damages, the main issue in Japan remains power outages, which prevent factories from becoming fully operational, IHS iSuppli analysts said. They expect most factories to be back to full production in two to three months, though some may take as long as six months or never be used again.
He said the latest material concern is hydrogen peroxide, which is used as a cleaning agent. About 75% of the supply comes from Japan. "This is rapidly turning into a very concerning issue in Japan," Jelinek said.

Along with chemicals concerns, the analysts still expect shortages in the supply of silicon wafers, disks the size of dinner plates that are the foundation of chip fabrication. IHS iSuppli estimates that Japan accounts for about 60% of the world's supply, and Jelinek said the industry faces an estimated 200,000-wafer-per-month shortfall for two to three months starting in May.

From Far Labs, a Vivid Picture Emerges of Japan Crisis
For the clearest picture of what is happening at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, talk to scientists thousands of miles away.

Thanks to the unfamiliar but sophisticated art of atomic forensics, experts around the world have been able to document the situation vividly. Over decades, they have become very good at illuminating the hidden workings of nuclear power plants from afar, turning scraps of information into detailed analyses.


Thanks. Important reading.

The Areva presentation referred to in the NY Times story is the one that Ida-russkie linked to above.

*For the clearest picture of what is happening at Japan’s Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant, talk to scientists thousands of miles away.*

Possible irony here? Where are the data coming from?

From the debris blowing to them in the wind.

The article states that the Japanese truly have no data:
there is no way to get inside or see inside the reactor vessels.
That it took three years to get a camera into Three Mile Island
is given as an example of this.

But, could not the local authority over the accident have done the
same analysis?

It is also bizarre that analysis of photographs comes from sources outside the local authority.

So, yes, information is suppressed.

You are better off searching Google Web rather than Google News.
You are better off searching Google.ru rather than Google.com
Then there is Google.co.jp
You can use "translate" at google.com to form your inquiries.
If you ask the question in English, all three sites give pretty much the same results. Use Russian at .ru and Japanese at .co.jp

*It is also bizarre that analysis of photographs comes from sources outside the local authority.*

Not just of the photographs but publicly, in large part, of the data. Why the triumphant emphasis on "forensics" in a "newspaper of record?" Is this a crime scene under discussion?

You can glean some good information from PNNL

Tank farm cleanup technology:

The NewsBridge (PNNL's Drumbeat sort of)

and last, from: http://www.businessweek.com/magazine/content/11_15/b4223057775248.htm

Fukushima is unlikely to reach Chernobyl levels in either category, but the problems faced there still hold lessons. When the Chernobyl reactor blew, deadly radiation emanating from its smoldering core and radioactive fallout blanketed the site, thwarting attempts to seal it off. In a desperate measure, the Soviets entombed the reactor within a concrete shell, or sarcophagus, while they figured out a better way to dispose of the molten nuclear fuel deep inside. The sarcophagus was designed to last 10 years. That was 25 years ago. Now it's dangerously unstable.

This stuff is what I'm distressed by; humans cannot seem to see past the present - they'll let TSHTF before they turn it (TF) off.

Business Week: "Fukushima is unlikely to reach Chernobyl levels in either category [radiation or contamination]..."

That's not at all clear.

It is more likely they will build a stressed fabric stricture over the framing of the secondary containment. This a good thing. The Idaho national laboratory and others in the DOE complex have been doing D&D ( demolition and decommissioning)projects of large radioactivity contaminated structures over the last few years. These projects were well planned out. these plans will be copied by the Japanese where possible. why reinvent the wheel.

Chernobyl was not well planned by any definition.

Nothing from my perspective seemed planned at Fukushima. They pumped sea water on those things and they are uncontrollably exploding. What happened to the helicopter BS? Where are those robots? LOL. A big game of media photo ops. Nothing more.

Why not call a spade a spade? 4 Reactor buildings are out of control and have melted down. Basically only one melted down in Chernobyl.

Is math hard to come by with nuclear spin doctoring? The average onlooker sees a large gap between what is happening and what is said.

But we are of course to the golf balls and dirty bomb diaper solutions, meaning the industry has not thought too hard about how they clean up their regularly occurring meltdown every 15-20 years or so.

Get that fabric sowed together. They should be able to open a school in their after the fabric is in place.

These people are paid money to sit around and practically do nothing when it comes to planning and safety. Just like the Oil Industry. Same culture of complacency.

What happened to the helicopter BS

They are now radioactive and unusable. The JSDF has approached the US military for help to decontaminate them and is awaiting additional protective gear for their mechanics. That from NHK a few days ago. Apparently the paint is particularly attractive to contamination and the air intakes can't be touched without full protective gear. And that's before they start taking them to bits.

And how long before merchant marine vessels no longer enter Tokyo Harbor due to either threats of or very real contamination? For that matter, anywhere up or down the east coast of Japan? How come I have not heard a word on this issue in the MSM?

We need to regain our news communication channels.
They should be for the public good. There should be balance.
The first thing I heard
was that merchant ships
were refusing to dock.

The next day I heard
that they were told
that the radio-actives
could simply be hosed off.

"Shipowners are insisting on inserting a clause into contracts that would give them the right to divert cargoes away from Japanese ports if radiation levels are considered to be risky in the wake of the explosions at the Fukushima Daiichi, or Fukushima-1, nuclear plant, shipping sources said Thursday."



"CHINA has refused docking to the (Japanese ship)after "abnormal" amounts of radiation were detected on the deck of the ship's surface containers"

You can wash it off if you can get into all the nooks and crannies.

Yes, indeed.
But lots of places to hide aboard ship...
Air filters
Tops of cabinets (the dreaded glove-swipe test)
the bottoms of shoes
the captain's carpet
...and then come out later.

Various public and private entities developed event simulation models (the article referred to them as codes) based on emission signatures. The input was both TEPCO reported data as well as remote readings. Avera is likely one of the models used.

I am amazed with the level of some reader’s comments.

They seem to be looking for punctual solutions to potential detected problems in each of the Fukushima reactors.

There are apparently experts in knowing what type of isotopes may have been released; some others, describe with incredible precision the direction of possible footprints of the radioactive clouds. Very detailed analysis on the high definition photograpgh of the drone over the reactors. Other make very detailed comments on the AREVA report on Fukushima. Others, give precision by the minute of some things happening there and actions taken. Others, try to help in suggesting how to seal or repair the recently discovered crack in a pit in a given reactor. Some suggest to pour concrete. Others, to pour clean water to shift the radiated water from inside; some other, projecting a polyurethane-based insulating foam sealant.

My concerns go in a different direction.

Let me tell first about a joke to resemble this very serious issue. There is a man walking in a cemetery and he observes a hand meandering out a tombstone and a quivering voice begging: please, please, help me out, I am alive!. The walking man approaches then and trod on the hand back into the tombstone by shouting: Alive? What you are is deficiently buried!!

And this is exactly what happens to the Chernobyl plant: it is not a closed issue, as the industry tries to tell us. It is a deficiently buried corp. It is still a latent problem that may come back in all its splendour any of the coming centuries.

In Fukushima, they have not yet acknowledged that they will have to prepare a Chernobyl-times-four concrete tombstone; a sarcophagus Matriuska type (one covering the previous, each time the previous cracks, and in Chernobyl I believe they are in the third stage) And below ground nobody knows what happens and how the elephant feet of the radioactive magma will find its way out to the environment.

It is dramatic to observe how they are lying, day after day. It is dramatic to see how the press releases are only reporting what are the daily bad news, step by step.

It is pathetic to realize how they are trying each day, both the “experts” and the linked and biased pro nuclear media to close the radiation victim’s accounts. How they try to minimize the numbers, when the victims will have to be accounted during the next centuries or millennia.

Pathetic to observe how they are trying now to demonstrate that today’s exposure is negligible in many areas, hiding the fact that a single milligram of a radioactive matter (low radiation levels) incorporated in the tissue to which they tend to associate in many cases, radiates the cells to which it has stick continuously, until it degenerates in a tumour or a cancer, that will be very difficult to account, even there are many cause-to-effect proven, massive epidemiological serious studies showing that Chernobyl caused many more victims in big areas of Russia, Ukraine, Byelorussia than those declared, when compared.

It is very pathetic to observe how they seem unable to release in a press conference a credible roadmap or course of suggested actions and alternatives for the four Fukushima reactors and the associated population in the affected regions, not for tomorrow, but for the next years or decades or centuries.

It is a real shame to see how lousy and suspiciously contradicting are the measuring radiation levels in different ranges form the reactors. The Japanese authorities seem to have given up in how to prepare a credible evacuation plan; probably because there are no possible evacuation plans much beyond what has been evacuated until now (close to 200,000 people). Because 20 or 30 millions will never be evacuated, regardless if radiation reaches at some point mortal or very dangerous levels, as per the present standards. They give the dreadful impression of being prepared to tell their people, if this happens and they can not hide for any longer, that they will be increasing the red zone radiation levels and release the present standards up, by arguing that they were very conservative.

Isn’t there anybody able to tell us how on hell they foresee the Fukushima plants and the neighbouring population and natural resources ten years from now? Cannot anybody tell us how to manage a “semi” molten core or the "semi" molten spent fuel rods in the dried pools?

Shall we see one day any of those arrogant Westerners that were blaming the Soviets in 1986, for not having foreseen a nuclear plant with a fully sage containment vessel and that his will never happen to the Western designed nuclear plants, begging the world people’s pardon for having lied so blatantly?

Has any of those arrogant pro nuclear persons revisited and heavily downgraded its EROEI nuclear energy figures in the light of Fukushima and its costs in the next 500 years, for instance?

[some readers] seem to be looking for punctual solutions to potential detected problems in each of the Fukushima reactors. My concerns go in a different direction.

Yes, they definitely do.

Two men were walking down the street, and saw a house on fire. The first cried, "Oh god, this is terrible! terrible! It's such a huge fire, oh, it's going to burn up the whole neighborhood! How can anyone imagine stopping such a fire, the fire department in this town is hopeless!" And with that, he collapsed on the ground, sobbing.

The second man said "Well, shit. We'd better get a hose, quick."

Which man's response is more helpful?

goodmanj- Thank you for that.

I do not have any opinion as to the magnitude of the health effects from Chernobyl. However, you should be aware that just because epidemiological studies have shown only minor or no effects (for different outcomes) that fact does not rule out that effects may in reality be significantly larger.

Since epidemiological studies are non-experimental there are almost always a number of (confounding) factors (known or unknown) that are not possible to control for. Factors that have the potential to bias the results. Also it is not uncommon that the data available are of poor quality. I believe both these major problems to a very large degree will affect epidemiological studies from Ukraine and Belarus.

I do not know to what extent there have been efforts to study a possible effect in Sweden. Data quality would be a lesser issue compared to Belarus and Ukraine. But, maybe the effects are small enough to be impossible to detect in the general noise and the presence of (known or unknown) confounding factors.

*And this is exactly what happens to the Chernobyl plant: it is not a closed issue, as the industry tries to tell us. It is a deficiently buried corp. It is still a latent problem that may come back in all its splendour any of the coming centuries.*

Yes, we all know this. An impoverished and often corrupt Ukraine lacks the resources to do anything about the sarcophagus. It appealed for international aid years ago. Has any been forthcoming?

*... in the light of Fukushima and its costs in the next 500 years, for instance?*

This is well beyond the human temporal horizon, which is very much part of the problem.

Work begins on new sarcophagus for Chernobyl reactor, Staff Writers, Kiev (AFP) Sept 24, 2010.

They are lying rail tracks to slide an arch over the entire mess paid for by the European Union.

A consortium made up of French construction companies Bouygues and Vinci won a tender in 2007 to build a new sarcophagus, financed by an international foundation.

The project will cost a total of at least 870 million euros (1.17 billion dollars), according to estimates by the Ukrainian government.

The project currently has a "deficit of 550 million euros," deputy prime minister Andriy Klyuev said during a visit to the site on Thursday.

More details about the arched structure: New Safe Confinement. Something like this will probably need to be done at Fukushima Diichi.

Once you call it "New Safe Confinement" you forget of course that the prior confinement was neither safe nor lasting. LOL.

The fabric tent approach would be cheaper, although not as durable.

Gov't eyes use of huge sheet to contain radioactive substances
"A source close to the government criticized its latest move, saying, ''Politicians and the TEPCO management adopted the proposal from the major construction company which does not have deep knowledge about nuclear power plants.''

''This step is essentially lip service to give the public a sense of ease by hiding the image of the decrepit nuclear plant,'' the source said."

There is the near view here.
There is the far view here.
The roads between are seen, too.
"Yep, ya got a busted elastomeric seal there."
"Gonna take decades to clean this up."
"This is how civilizations fall."
"Just too many people."

...And the lies ARE boggling.
The human condition...

I think your comment is very thoughtful.

Everyone here in Japan is wondering the same thing that you are: is this it? Is it time to evacuate Tokyo and all the way north to Fukushima and a little beyond there?

I have friends in the Tokyo area and north of it who are worried. Some have left, never to return. Some are buying water and dealing with their fears.

Basically there are layers to this: foreigners have already left in droves. Rich and mobile people with family in other places have in some cases left. Young and educated people who understand the problem are leaving if they can. Or they are making contingency plans to leave in case. Elderly, poor cannot leave so easily, unfortunately.

We can imagine a spiraling situation, with less and less economic activity, fewer cars, more and more empty buildings in the affected zones. The more bad news, the longer it drags out, the worse it gets: students don't return to colleges, the teachers leave, the businesses shut down. Everything---streets, houses, etc.--- turns into garbage and we see the Second Law ("disorder is everywhere and always increasing in the universe") has raised its powerful leonine head and looked in our direction with a gaze that will not be denied, though we gave it our best shot for 100 years give or take!

The people who leave have to go somewhere else. The people who stay have to manage as best as they can. Life is full of risks and difficulties. Some people may get some diseases from the exposure later--or they may not...who will know, exactly? Who can tell? Maybe a car accident will claim some...or influenza, or a fall or a heart attack. It is hard to say "here is safe", "here is not safe" when the water may have some levels some day, not others, who to believe? What to do?

I return, always, to the Second Law. Without the electricity from the nuclear power plants there would be other kinds of disorder to deal with that would place limits on our lifespans and possibilities. People used to live to 45, my age now. They had lovely clean water and lots of fresh air but an infection could spell the end. So pick your poison. What kind of end is the best for a human life? Nursing homes use lots of electricity. They seem boring and sterile. Starving to death when you are just 50 because you are too weak to grow enough food or because of a drought is also a choice that some may have to contemplate. Of course bone cancer is extremely painful, I have heard. So avoiding ingesting strontium-90 is such a good idea, and lets try to avoid ingesting that if we can.

I have heard of Japanese fishermen dying simply 100 years ago among the reeds of the lakes where they made their living. They would catch fewer and fewer fish as they aged, selling fewer and fewer then none, eating less and less...then poof, one day they are just dead bones floating in the simple wooden boat that will also have its own end. What could be more peaceful than that? Is that too peaceful for us now? Is that an unacceptable end? Will we not accept this kind of end? Who will have the power to enforce the ban on this kind of end?

Certainly when the disorder from all the world's nuclear power plants goes from latent to manifest (as it must) that will be a moment (taking centuries?) to revisit the debate--how to live a life in a system such as our cosmos--- and the debate is a familiar one, many myths touch on it.

I think we could manage without nuclear power and give up on the stupid television and so much wasteful economic activity. But that is just me.

Pi: I'm not nearly the sharpest tool in the woodshed around here, but, by golly, I'm with ya. You hang in there. OK?

Very quiet. Serene pacing. Someone here turned me on to it:
Yokohama Kaidashi Kikō:
Part 1 part 1 and 2:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ZWqV1SUYQsk ARCAJ
Part 2 part 1 and 2:

After something happened, things are quieter.

Doesn't seem to be any torrents available. Been trying to get OVA2 in English Subs. Thanks to whoever put me onto this.


The numbering IS confusing.
The links still work.

I've had KTorrent chewing on this for a few days but it hasn't come up with anything :(


Oooops! Forgot my 'firewall with attitude' :)


I have heard of Japanese fishermen dying simply 100 years ago among the reeds of the lakes where they made their living. They would catch fewer and fewer fish as they aged, selling fewer and fewer then none, eating less and less...then poof, one day they are just dead bones floating in the simple wooden boat that will also have its own end. What could be more peaceful than that? Is that too peaceful for us now? Is that an unacceptable end? Will we not accept this kind of end? Who will have the power to enforce the ban on this kind of end?

I like the idea of repatriation to the environment - a good way to dispose of one's body I think. Today's mortician and their trocar in the embalming process will basically suck out every bit of soft tissue, leaving just skin, bone, and lean mass - the good stuff being dumped unceremoniously into the nearest landfill to do nothing but slime the plastic kitchen sacks below.

They would catch fewer and fewer fish as they aged, selling fewer and fewer then none, eating less and less...then poof, one day they are just dead bones floating in the simple wooden boat that will also have its own end. What could be more peaceful than that?

Oh for god's sake. Anyone who thinks starving to death is romantic, serene, or anything other than horrific misery should try it sometime.

I'm not suggesting that starvation is fun. But nuclear power and fossil fuels enabled millions to not have to worry about starvation. Millions of people are alive thanks to fossil fuels and their handmaidens, of which nuclear energy is one. So when there is a problem with the energy we need then we can expect problems that threaten our success.

So how did people in the past cope when there wasn't a lot of fossil fuels? The oldest, weakest people died first. Maybe they were in their 60s or early 70s. Quite young by today's standards. Starving to death wasn't fun by any means, but if you are on a boat drifting in the water and can see the stars.....maybe it is just me, but doesn't that beat sitting in a bed in a very boring insitution waiting for an incurable disease to hasten one's existence into oblivion?

Sorry to be so blunt about it, but the way people died in the past, without putting any extra demands on a system that was clean and solar-based, allowed for young people to make their ways without worrying about whether their water was radioactive or not.

Now we really do have to worry.

You are the worst kind, "green" fascist even. Living in the forest like apes is the only way to live on Earth. Get rid of the weak and then go back singing along around the camp fire, right?

Like in the movie Beach, the man bitten with shark was transferred to an isolated tent because "it was not good for the general mood hear him screaming in agony".

Greens today are precisely like that, pretending to live in "harmony" with nature but then making a shopping list full of industrial products to the boat man, who is going to the "disgusting, decadent" mainland market.

The Kinks, circa 1970, Apeman

Starvation is a very poor way for a society to dispose of excess population. In pre-industrial times most food was produced very locally. Food availability in most areas was variable by season and by year, which leads to periodic starvation of the whole community. This weakens community health and leads to periodic disease epidemics.

The alternative, which was practiced by most societies in temperate or northern climates, is to engage in continual warfare. Combat with pointed and bladed weapons tends to thin out the weaker and dumber members of the population, particularly the less competent young males.

Even in tropical settings, such as New Guinea and the Amazon, warfare was practiced by many tribes. The idea of peaceful primitive societies is generally not true.

Infanticide was also widely practiced, especially female infanticide and killing of twins.

We recoil at these things, but for small societies living on the edge of existence, a sudden increase in twins or in potential new baby-makers can tip them toward starvation.

"Anyone who thinks starving to death is romantic, serene, or anything other than horrific misery should try it sometime."

It is a romantic image, the passing of the old fisherman.
In his realm.
In nature.
To die that way is better than the hospital bed?
Removed from everything?
In sterility?

One sees visions.

"Among the visions induced by prayer and fasting, and the severe self discipline of the religious ascetic..."

See "Fasting-Induced Hallucination"
"Fasting is a powerful mechanism that can facilitate the mediation of the hallucinatory state"

Death is not frightening.
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=C89QY3S_srI ...Of course.

A wonderful film on the Japaneses burial ritual of Nokanshi: "Departures" - available on Netflix.


"He answers a classified ad entitled "Departures" thinking it is an advertisement for a travel agency only to discover that the job is actually for a "Nokanshi" or "encoffineer," a funeral professional who prepares deceased bodies for burial and entry into the next life. While his wife and others despise the job, Daigo takes a certain pride in his work and begins to perfect the art of "Nokanshi," acting as a gentle gatekeeper between life and death, between the departed and the family of the departed. The film follows his profound and sometimes comical journey with death as he uncovers the wonder, joy and meaning of life and living."

Hello all. Haven't been here for a while, but knew I would find the experts on this site about nuclear radiation.
I am always the gloom and doomer, but isn't radiation exposure accumulative? With levels as high as they are and now seeping into the ocean, already water and milk and obviously soil is being contaminated here in the United States just from the winds that reached here the first week or two. It will continue possibly for years?
I think the only place we are safe temporarily from the effects of this radiation, is the southern hemisphere.

If I were you, and had the means, I would have already left Tokyo. There is no fleeing the radiation you are receiving and will continue to receive, far earlier than those of us here in the US

I don't think they can stop this, it is too big! The views of overhead show the actual destruction at this time and with the level of radiation being emitted, all of the workers will be dead in the following months from radiation sickness.

If anyone has a positive word for me, I will provide a lifetime supply of Bluebell - and hopefully that life will last beyond ten years.

Would a large lead dome prevent anything?

Would a large lead dome prevent anything?

Well, don't forget lead's natural radioactive isotopes and that it is somewhat toxic ;)


The image of the insuficiently buried corpse is apt. People who do not have a technical background need ways to think of these things. The industry pays people to come up with images; there should also be images created by ordinary people.

It's important that people understand that "cold shutdown" and similar terms do not mean what they think they mean.

(I wonder if "going zombie" might be a better way to describe these plants.)

Going, going, glowing zombie.

Do you think we (as a species) are too dumb to get it, Erica, or are we just culturally entranced?

Yesterday after we had made the last stop on our once-monthly shopping, we came out of the store, got in the car... and there was a layer of fine, black gritty material all over the windshield.

It's been raining buckets here for three days, so you'd think the atmosphere would have been washed clean.

I cycled the wipers, and watched. Each fat raindrop that landed on the wiped glass deposited a single tiny piece of black grit. It reminded me somewhat of the cinders the old steam locomotives used to pump out, only smaller.

Now, I know that it was nothing. But my mind couldn't help but imagine little alphas and betas and gammas streaming out of the grit. It gave me a little chill. Then I chided myself for being a Cold War Child idiot, and drove home.

(I actually remember having to do those stupid bomb drills when I was in kindergarten and first grade... "Drop! And Cover!" LOL)

Excellent layman's summary of radioactivity and contamination in the New York Times:


Man, I just love bullshit the MSM is feeding the poorly educated masses. Peddling discredited science over and over again, same goes for our governments. Right.. no immediate danger, but that's not how radiation exposure kills, it does it's dirty work over the long haul, years, decades later, still births, or in horrific birth defects.

In the past decade or so, the steady accumulation of science research has determined the NO ADDITIONAL DOSE OF RADIATION EXPOSURE IS SAFE. It all harms, especially the internal emitters. Thus one, must avoid additional exposure whenever, wherever possible.

The effects of additional exposure are increased for those who younger(more future cell divisions at risk). And the effects go wayyy beyond cancer, horrible birth defects, organ failures are just a small sample of the possible symptoms.

Just because radiation impacting a particular DNA/RNA strand didn't trigger unlimited cell replication(cancer), none the less the ability of the cell to replicate and perform it's function in the future is likely to be compromised.

On the bright side the MSM/government Decepticons gives me more time to stock up and prepare for the inevitable mess.

Some "new" overhead shots via satellite and drone here:

Notes on the four explosions. Criticism welcome.

Title in red, but no link in source code.

A Safety and Regulatory Assessment of Generic BWR
and PWR Permanently Shutdown Nuclear Power Plants
Manuscript Completed: April 1997
date Published: August 1997
Prepared by
R. J. Travis, R. E. Davis, E. J. Grove, M. A. Azarm
Brookhaven National Laboratory
Upton, NY 11973
G. J. Mencinsky, NRC Program Manager


Report prepared for NRC on the impacts of a fuel pool fire on land and people for a generic BWR. Range of outcomes depending on models, evacuation effectiveness, etc. See page 4-2 for table on condemned land and latent fatalities.

From April 1 issue of Science Magazine

Ten years ago, Koji Minoura, a geologist at Tohoku University in Sendai, and colleagues injected some science into a legendary disaster. A historical document compiled in 901 C.E. told of an earthquake in 869 C.E. that destroyed a castle town in northeastern Japan and a subsequent tsunami that inundated the surrounding area, killing 1000. Digging in rice paddies in what is now called the Sendai Plain, Minoura’s team found telltale marine sediments showing that the tsunami ran as much as 4 kilometers inland. They estimated the Jogan earthquake’s magnitude at 8.3 and concluded that it could recur at 1000-year intervals. “The possibility of a large tsunami striking the Sendai Plain is high,” they wrote in a 2001 article in the Journal of Natural Disaster Science.

The company missed a chance to address the deficiency when an expert panel reviewed the plant’s seismic resistance in 2008. As The Washington Post reported, Okamura told the panel about the Jogan earthquake and warned that a bigger tsunami was possible. The panel, concerned mostly about earthquake shaking, brushed aside his concerns, he asserts.

This site has some large, good resolution overhead pictures of some of the reactors:


Be sure to scroll down a few inched to see the first of several pics.

ArmsControlWonk has been posting news and analysis:




When the Chernobyl disaster struck, part of the nuclear fuel melted through the bottom reinforced concrete floor of the reactor. The radioactive magma then headed towards the underground water table a few hundred feet below. The Russians realized that if it ever hit that water table it would contaminate the water supply of a colossal area. Radiation would even condemn the water supply for people and for agriculture on a wide cross-border basis. They calculated that rivers and the Black Sea with its fisheries would even be eventually contaminated to an unacceptable level.

It was then a race against time to construct a ticker much more resistant reinforced concrete slab underground but above the water table. 10 000 miners were mobilized to dig a tunnel several hundred feet long to reach a spot right below the crippled Chernobyl reactor and just above the highly radioactive magma. Those miners were not given any choice by the Russian leadership. They fortunately succeeded in time. Several of them died during their heroic efforts and NONE of them could ever work and have a normal life thereafter. Most of them died in their early 40s.

All in all 500 000 workers (100 000 military and 400 000 civilians) were mobilized in particular to build a concrete sarcophagus above the highly radioactive crippled Chernobyl reactor. They were NOT given any choice by the USSR leadership. Many died during their efforts and all of them had considerably reduced lifespans if they survived the immediate task that was given to them, i.e. work for a few minutes in an extremely high radioactive environment. These people are the hidden heroes who prevented a large part of Europe from becoming a deadly radioactive wasteland.

To build the concrete sachophagus, the Russians had to design remote controlled heavy machinery to do part of the work. In some cases the radiation level was so high that the remote controlled mechanism ceased to operate and the robots became uncontrollably crazy...

At some point the Russians even feared that the molten radioactive magma would accidentally reach criticality and provoke a 5 Megaton nuclear explosion that would have blown hundreds of tons of radioactive material in the upper atmosphere (there were 3 other nuclear plants close to the crippled Chernobyl reactor)! This would have been the dirtiest nuclear explosion ever (an atomic bomb usually contains less than 100 kg of fissible radioactive material)...

How will Japan's Tepco be able to mobilize the amount of resources needed to build a reinforced concrete sarcophagus ABOVE and BELOW the much larger crippled Fushushima plant (4 grouped reactors on one side with their spent fuel storage ponds are heavily damaged and 2 more on the other side that have up to now been stabilized but for how long if all the employees need to be evacuated from the place)?

One key lesson that must be learned from the Chernobyl disaster: the authorities SYSTEMATICALLY PUBLICLY LIED about the extent of the damages, the critical nature of the disaster and the risks involved in particular for all those who worked or lived nearby in order TO AVOID PANIC and a breakdown in social order that would have prevented the orderly mobilization needed to tackle the crisis...

But Japan is not the USSR circa 1986. It will not be able to control critical information as easily as the USSR was able to do during the Chernobyl disaster.


P.S: Cost estimates of the damage resulting from the tsunami and from the resulting nuclear debacle are steadily rising and have now reached over $US 300 billion. Needless to say that the Fukushima disaster is currently far from being contained and that no comprehensive credible plan to cap it has yet to be presented. If the Tokyo area becomes fully impacted that number will shoot straight up… If the problem becomes cross-border, all bets are off…

Japan’s GDP is slightly over $US 5 trillion.

Chernobyl bankrupted the former USSR… 25 years after the 1986 Chernobyl disaster the radioactive by-products that were then spread over the closest 40 km radius zone can now be found 20 cm under the ground. Nothing can be safely cultivated nor live there. The USSR did not have the material and financial resources to clean-up the topsoil to fully decontaminate the ground from its radioactive fallout. Today Ukraine is no longer part of the USSR but it does not have the financial and material resources needed to even attempt the decontamination of that topsoil. That task would involve taking out the first 20 cm of topsoil and burying the whole shit in a safe long term underground storage area.

How much would it cost today to do that in a 40 km radius around Fukushima?

"Many died during their efforts and all of them had considerably reduced lifespans if they survived the immediate task that was given to them, i.e. work for a few minutes in an extremely high radioactive environment. These people are the hidden heroes who prevented a large part of Europe from becoming a deadly radioactive wasteland."

Show me one study that says that. How many died? About 60. You Greens are just about to say anything to twist the real facts into something totally else, when it comes to nuclear power. Brainwashed idiots.

Watch this and tell me only about 60 died http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yiCXb1Nhd1o


European Committee on Radiation Risks (ECRR)
Chernobyl: 20 years on
Health Effects of the Chernobyl Accident.
C.C. Busby and A.V. Yablokov

Just to name one.

The brainwashed idiots are those blaming on the green color just for being green and obsessed in closing down the death toll, in an Excel spreadsheet to 60 (good round figure!) in Chernobyl, while the Evil's shit of the radioactive magma is still corroding and pouring out from the Matriuska-type of sarcophagus wreckage 25 years later.

You greens...

Who are you talking to, man? You are talking to people that GET to question energy policy. It is very democratic. What is your political belief system -- like that in China or what? No questioning at all. LMAO. Get a grip. We all get a chance to think about the policy and the effects. You need to do some thinking too apparently.

A believer.
To attack the belief is to attack them.
They therefore project, and perceive to attack belief with derision.
This attack passes through the opposition without effect.
The opposition holds to an idea derived through experience.
In dogma, truth is revealed by an authority.
In science, truth is discovered for one's self.
The best way to attack any heretical thought is to burn its texts.
Not deride its converts.

Voices of light
The passion of Joan of Arc

Yes, I have reflected on just how little discussion there is about the (possible, slight or maybe non-existing) risk that significant contamination from molted core or otherwise penetrates to the water table. Is there a reasonable risk that this could happen and what would be the consequences? Obviously, it would not be like diluting the stuff in the ocean. Which to some degree happens right now with some of the contaminants.

Anyone who like to expand somewhat on this?

The fallout will get into the water tables and reservoirs. How much is unknown.

2 missing workers found dead at troubled Fukushima nuke plant: TEPCO

Two employees of Tokyo Electric Power Co. who had been missing since the March 11 quake and tsunami have been found dead at the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, the utility said Sunday, adding that they died of bleeding from multiple wounds.

They are believed to have died around 4 p.m. on March 11, apparently after the 2:46 p.m. quake triggered a massive tsunami.

I've come to the conclusion that Sieverts might be a workable unit for sources of gamma - radiation ,

but that for ingestion and inhalation , the bq's / kg limits are more in order ,


Prescribed safe limits for radioactive Iodine-131:
300 Becquerel per kilogram         Drinking water
300 (Bq/kg)                        Milk, dairy products
2,000 (Bq/kg)                      Vegetables*
                                   (*Except root vegetables and

Prescribed safe limits for radioactive cesium:
200 Becquerel per kilogram         Drinking water
200 (Bq/kg)                        Milk, dairy products
500 (Bq/kg)                        Vegetables
500 (Bq/kg)                        Grains
500 (Bq/kg)                        Meat, eggs, fish, etc.
Prescribed safe limits for uranium:
20 Becquerel per kilogram          Infant foods
20 (Bq/kg)                         Drinking water
20 (Bq/kg)                         Milk, dairy products
100 (Bq/kg)                        Vegetables
100 (Bq/kg)                        Grains
100 (Bq/kg)                        Meat, eggs, fish, etc.

Prescribed safe limits for alpha-emitting nuclides of plutonium
and transuranic elements:
1 Becquerel per kilogram           Infant foods
1 (Bq/kg)                          Drinking water
1 (Bq/kg)                          Milk, dairy products
10 (Bq/kg)                         Vegetables
10 (Bq/kg)                         Grains
10 (Bq/kg)                         Meat, eggs, fish etc.

It's perhaps a bit ironic that I could thus argue for a crop intensive farming option ,
since for instance with a cesium 137 contamination of 1000 Bq/m^2 ,
I can say that if I harvest at least 1000/500 = 2 Kg/m^2 of vegetables from that patch ,
it should fall within the safety limit.

It's even safer,IMHO, when you take into account added fertilizer.
The "K" in the NPK designation for inorganic fertilizer is of course potassium which would displace the Cs137 available for uptake into the plant. (This is called "isotope dilution", and is the same principle used in prophylactic treatment with KI for the radio-iodine risk.)

Added as edit: While your suggestion is to use crops to "soak up" the contamination and presumably to discard the harvest (where??), my suggestion .. that exogenous K from fertilizer will "swamp out" absorption .. would lead one to market the crop as edible and safe.

Written by GJNL:
... since for instance with a cesium 137 contamination of 1000 Bq/m^2 ,
I can say that if I harvest at least 1000/500 = 2 Kg/m^2 of vegetables from that patch , it should fall within the safety limit.

Bq/m2 emitting from the ground does not indicate the concentration in the soil from which the plant will draw in the radionuclides. 3 mm of soil might be enough to block the beta particle emitted from cesium-137 which means a Geiger counter only measurs the radiation near the surface. The vegetables will draw in radionuclides through out their growing depth potentially contaminating them more. It depends on how much and which radionuclides are in the soil. It is best to prevent the fallout from entering the soil by covering it with plastic and diverting rainwater away. The fallout in the USA from Fukushima may continue for another 2 or 3 months until the winds shift. The concentration of the radioactive cloud, the number of rain storms a location receives and the contamination of the irrigation water will probably be the main factors determining the contamination of the soil.

Pressure and Temperature Data graph for reactor 1 (time-scale from right to left)

15:36, March 12th = hydrogen explosion (righthandside of graph)

source : http://www.gyldengrisgaard.dk/fukmon/uni1_monitor.html

RP: Reactor pressure
D/W: Drywell pressure
S/C: Suppression chamber(wet-well) pressure
FNT: Feedwater nozzle temperature
BHT: Bottom head temperature

(I've linearly interpolated the unknowns )

Can someone explain why there are 2 reactor pressure readings , but only 2 distinct temperature readings instead of 4 ?

2 Reactor pressure vessels A and B , and but 1 feedwater inlet ?

Hi and thanks for the graph from time to time!

I suppose, there are two pressure sensors. Then I thought the temperature reading simply is apart form these, somewhere at the end of the feedline they use currently. I do not quite understand your question, why would there have to be four Tsensors? The pressure sensor can be a sensor completely apart from other sensors, I mean.

I have looked on the reading of pressure sensor RP B since 29th. It must be faulty right? Otherwise I think they would react on that pressure increase? Further TEPCO communicates that the situation is under control, with a balance between water feed and water level and leaks. My guess is they use RP A for reactor one.
What do you think?

"Further TEPCO communicates that the situation is under control"

Thats because they refuse to admit the situation since the batteries died has never been "under control".

I have a cleaned up graph of that data at my blog as well as a preliminary detailed interpretation of the values shown.
Fukushima No 1 Data Interpretation

My conclusions:
* I find it likely that there was some direct release from the reactor vessel of no 1 to the atmosphere.
* I also believe that reactor 1 had a complete core meltdown.
* Additionally there is a pressure anomaly which escapes my grasp but needs some urgent attention.

Please let me know your opinion on these.

Absorbent yet to soak up radioactive water at Fukushima plant

Workers tried Sunday to block the leakage of highly radioactive water into the sea from the crisis-hit Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant by injecting polymeric water absorbent that can soak up 50 times its volume, but the water flow remains unaffected, the government's nuclear safety agency said.

Chief Cabinet Secretary Yukio Edano, meanwhile, told a press conference that it could take several months before radiation stops leaking from the plant, suggesting a lengthy battle ahead to resolve the crisis triggered by the devastating March 11 quake and tsunami.

It seems peculiar to try to halt a 500 ton/day leak with 'absorbent polymer', which in fact is actually sawdust if the Japanese news reports are to be believed.
Just like it seems weird to try to plug the drain when upstream a nuclear reactor is leaking. At best the leak will back up to somewhere else, maybe somewhere much less manageable.
Surely the logical move would be to put a suction hose into the leak and pull out the contaminated water for processing. The fresh water barge they just got from the US Navy would hold three weeks worth
of these concentrated emissions, time enough to find replacements to take on the job.
It still seems that there is no crisis management plan, just ad hoc responses, often very short sighted.

It's just Japanese PR stunts. If I see another photo where they have the workers pose for the camera I think I'll be sick.

There was a link posted not too long ago to an Austrian site that tracked the flow of wind-blown contamination. I've lost the link and wondered if someone could repost it? Thanks in advance.


Google translate of today's update http://translate.google.com/translate?js=n&prev=_t&hl=en&ie=UTF-8&layout...

Weather in the crisis region

Today makes itself felt even more low-pressure influence. Especially in Hokkaido, Tokyo and around the Pacific will occasionally rain down. In the space Fukushima Chance of precipitation is rather low. The wind is from the northwest, in the greater Tokyo area, however, from northeast to southeast.

On Monday, making itself felt in all Japan high air pressure, the amount of flow turning to north. In Fukushima, the wind comes from South to North, from In Tokyo, the South East. This radioactivity can be transported.

On Tuesday continued high air pressure is decisive, it remains dry. Also the wind conditions change significantly, and thus remain poor.

Spread of the cloud over East Asia today and tomorrow

Spread of the cloud over East Asia the day after tomorrow

Thanks - I notice they don't have the world-scale animation that I saw the other day.

Is the last 4 days as individual frames. If you read back through the reports you'll find earlier animations.

Tomorrow the wind shifts--rumors of wider evacuation zones, perhaps as a result?

Mini-inservice on the hydrogeology of beach groundwater--the tsunami probably did some odd things to the water table.

Here's the surface hydrology:

And a big jump in I-131 at sampling point 10 (inshore south, slide 6)

The site has been gently backtracking on their estimates of emissions from this site over the past several days.
The initial per day estimate has gradually morphed into the total to date estimate, with further caveats that this estimate might be high by a factor of 1000.
In their latest release, which shows the world wide dispersal of the iodine 131 emissions, they do note that this level is below the natural background radiation, but do not say how much.

It is a little surprising that the uncertainties are now stated to be this large, as an earlier comparison of measured levels across the world was shown to agree within about 25% to the initial estimates.

It may be that a political adjustment is being added.

*It may be that a political adjustment is being added.*

If so, they ought to cease politically adjusting before no one in the public believes them, which could be a cause for real panic.

The data that they use is collected under the aegis of the comprehensive nuclear test ban treaty.
There are surely lots of strings attached to that information.
So there may be damage control under way.

The likelihood of public panic is probably quite real for parts of Japan.
Given the government admission that it will take months to halt this disaster, very large inland contamination seems a certainty.
Where are they going to put the people who live there now?

The windows on this disaster seem to be closing gradually.
We will probably get better information from Russia and China than from western media sources.

It may be that a political adjustment is being added.

You think so? ;-)

Would be nice if various other national agencies would publish some of their work but it seems they are too busy duck and covering.

Hmmm, I though Gundersen's original video claimed spent fuel pool leakage was source of radiation. In this video, Gundersen explains leakage thru control rod seals.
Huge Plutonium Leagage

There are a series of videos he's made as more information comes to light. http://www.fairewinds.com/updates

There are multiple radiation sources on site. Isn't that obvious?

I originally went to fairwinds website looking for control rod seal leakage video and was unable to find. If you go to the link you have posted and do a simple text search for control or rod, there are no hits. A hit should have been made because videos have descriptions underneath.

Regarding the snarly comment, yes there are multiple potential sources and yes that is obvious. Some of these are plausible and some are ridiculous. I searched TOD comments for the control rod seal source and didn't find it mentioned.

I also found an investigative report for Fort Belvoir SM-1 Control Rod Seal Failure that I hadn't mentioned.
Control Rod Seal Failure

Report conclusion states:

Visual inspection of the disassembled Rod "B" seal indicated leakage increase was due to the increased clearance probably caused by overheating due to loss of cooling water at various times in the operating period.

Try Google search of the site.


In the adjacent diagram, you will be able to follow a path as Fairewinds describes how highly radioactive water may be leaking directly into the environment. First, you note that each control rod has a control rod drive mechanism (CRDM) that uses graphite seals to keep the water inside the reactor (see highlights).

Unfortunately, at temperatures above 350F, these graphite seals quickly degrade. During reactor operation, constant cooling water flow is provided to each control rod drive mechanism to cool the seals. However, when the accident at Fukushima occurred, cooling stopped and the temperatures rose significantly past 350F causing a break down in each control rod mechanism seal. Since it is likely that rubble from the broken fuel rods has migrated and is collecting at the bottom of the reactor, the seals are being damaged by high temperature and/or high radiation. As the seals fail, the reactor coolant (assuming there is any left) will begin to leak out through the many small pipes marked in red.

As an engineer who never saw any of these designs before, there are some things that I've found very surprising and disturbing. I would have never dreamed there would be mechanical linkages and seals passing through the bottom of the reactor vessel. I can see it would be a difficult design issue, as you must have a reliable means of moving the control rods, but still - seals leak.

Unfortunately, at temperatures above 350F, these graphite seals quickly degrade.

Various graphite seal companies online advertize seals rated for 850F up to 1050F. The 850 ones appear to tolerate environments containing oxygen, while the higher temperature ones seem to be for non-oxygen environments.

Is anyone familiar with graphite seal applications? Are they used in refineries?

This is the kind of comment I was hoping for.

This says a key question concerns the ratings of the seal used with the control rods. Gundersen possibly could be getting his information from out of date reports that point to graphite seals. Composites are a newer technology and I would wonder if composite seals have better ratings. I've found numerous reports discussing control rod seal issues so this is not an unknown issue to those in the industry. I would hope seals currently used would have ratings for worse-case temperatures and pressures. Anyway, I don't have the expertise to know one way or the other.

See my next comment.

I'm no expert in this field but the choice of sealing materials is quite limited in such high radiation environments. Graphite is one of the few materials that can be utilized. It would require precise machining and would need to have a tight fit in a bore that is highly consistent and well polished. Due to differences in the thermal coefficient of expansion of the graphite and the bore material the operating temperature range would need to be limited so as to not exceed a specified leak rate.

Graphite seals are often employed for very-high temperature applications. Such applications often do not require extremely low leakage rates. Graphite can also operate at extremely-high temperatures in non-oxidizing environments.

concerning the control rod seals - Have these seals ever been replaced, they are on the bottom of the pressure vessel? I know the top comes off, the fuel bundles come out but I imagine replacing the seals would require draining the whole thing. Is that ever done in nuclear reactors? Are these seals 40 years old from late 60s technology. I've replaced a lot of seals in my life but the bottom of a nuclear pressure vessel brings in a whole wastedump of problems. If so when were they replaced, I wonder. They must be able to, just take a long time.

*I though Gundersen's original video claimed spent fuel pool leakage was source of radiation. In this video, Gundersen explains leakage thru control rod seals.*

Why should these causes exclude one another?

Try the March 31 video, as well as that for March 29th. There should be a transcript for the former if you want to save time by not viewing.

Fairwinds is a few days behind, and there have been more recent developments, none of which seem to be optimistic.

Japanese authorities are now stating that cleanup might take "months." Who is going to take that literally?

I don't feel the control rod seal cause should exclude the spent fuel pool cause or other discussed causes.

I posted comment because Fukushima Open Thread - 1st April referenced the Fairwinds spent fuel pool source in thread introduction. I searched TOD for other Fairwinds articles on TOD regarding control rod seal source and came up emtpy-handed. I was just giving air-time to other potential sources.

Notably, I'll add it would be ridiculous to say Unit 4 had a control rod seal failure because the reactor contained no nuclear fuel.

Also, this video links the recent development regarding the leaking crack with control rod seal failure.

EDIT: corrected typo

Pro nuke physicist just called me out about the Gunderson video. She is a friend but she calming everyone down. I think that is bad Juju. Not to create panic, but to prevent something like MLB from holding a series of games in Tokyo to show how safe everything turned out.

TinMan.. Arnie Gunderson makes money by testifying or pushing his firm into nuclear incidents or getting news programs to hire him to speak. He is motivated and uses the same shakedown type practices as Jessie Jackson. He has been anti nuke for 30 years or more. If he told the truth, he would hurt his business. If you choose to listen to what this man says then you will be led down the wrong path.. 70 percent of what he says is correct..because you cannot totally lie and keep the lies up.. So you use mostly truths and then exaggerate them. For example he talks about all the leaking trenches. It appears one is leaking, likely cracked when it got hot, and suddenly cooled by water sprayed in. I might add he is totally wrong about the reactors. They are not using 200 tons of water in the reactors, they have established circulation cooling in all reactors with fresh water. and have for some time. Spent fuel is almost exclusively the problem not the reactors. You can also know someone is scamming you when they use measurements and covert to the scariest value. Example 200 tons of water a day rather than use gallons.. water is rather heavy is it not? I will say again this is a local event.. the area around this site will have issues, but that is it. The Iodine 131 which makes up about 99 percent of the contaminates leaked into the sea and air is very short lived and will be no problem. Since Iodine 131 will not be absorbed into the body if you have taken the iodine pills, then the disentigrations per second is not an issue. You disappoint me Tin Man.. unless you are just having fun using this to gain attention or trying to see if I will reply. No matter what your motives, you should stop being Chicken Little...

I still feel like Cassandra, not chicken little.

Edit : Better yet sign up and post directly to her. Free and very easy. on al.com

they have established circulation cooling in all reactors with fresh water. and have for some time

Just to pick one "fact" that is wrong. They do not have a circulation path back out other than via the leaks and they are most certainly not circulating the same water back in after it has leaked out. There are plenty of other factual errors.

I agree but she is a nuclear physicist in industry and I had one semester of nuke physics. She also hates the goverment and thinks entitlements are stealing. She is an Islamophobe too. Still, maybe one day I could be half the person she is. She does care deeply for others and takes time to explain things to folks. I will save your one point and ask for more from all.

*I agree but she is a nuclear physicist in industry*

To be fair, if this person scores Gunderson for lack of objectivity, what can we make of her position as "a nuclear physicist in industry"?

Ad hominem arguments get us nowhere.

edit: No longer needed.

A pro-nuclear physicist wants to believe everything is 100% safe in Japan now. Sure I bet.

I am thinking we are somewhere in between Chernobyl and Hell on Fukushima. I do not think things could be much worse. An atomic bomb blast may have been a better outcome than a never-ending leak. Chernobyl may have been a better outcome than Fukushima. Who knows. I leave it up in the air to debate for a long while.

Anyone that "knows" does not. "We knowers are unknown to ourselves, and for good reason" -Nietzsche

Berkeley has been monitoring Water, Air and Milk in the local No. CA area.


A nuclear physicist is not a nuclear engineer. Understanding how to interpret cloud chamber data or device yields is not pertinent here, this is an engineering problem. I would be looking to this person to provide some concrete and indisputable facts to rebut the Fairewinds reports.The objection to use of tons to measure water usage is irrelevant, as it presumes to know the emotional response of unspecified and unsurveyed people - ie no data just opinion.

So now they are using fresh water. Glad to hear it. Any assessment of how lomg it might take to dissolve the precipitates remaining from the use of seawater?

So far what she has presented (second hand) is unpersuasive. But if she can contribute to the dialog here...

I have also read questions regarding Gundersen's motives and would use what he says carefully. However, if he brings to light technical issues that can be verified elsewhere, I'm appreciative.

Regarding your friend, her credibility was tarnished when she misspelled Gundersen's name. It may be no big deal but who's to know.

Her statement about Iodine-131 being no problem is obviously untrue. Tokyo would not have advised avoiding tap water for infants if there was no problem. I've read that 25% of iodine consumption goes into breast milk for a lactating mother. That is a big deal to me.

*I have also read questions regarding Gundersen's motives and would use what he says carefully. However, if he brings to light technical issues that can be verified elsewhere, I'm appreciative.*

Fair enough. Most if not all of us have motives. If anyone has issues with his technical evaluations, please post.

The advisory about Tokyo tapwater for infants was rescinded on March 27th, four days after it was issued. The I-131 levels that triggered the advisory were a single peak value found at one water treatment centre of 200 Bq/litre, under the limit of 300Bq/litre for adults but over the 100Bq/litre level for infants. The Japanese standards are tighter than some other countries who set limits for I-131 ten times higher at 3,000Bq/litre. The amounts of I-131 in Tokyo tapwater today (03 April) are now very low, a few Bq/litre at most and quite difficult to measure accurately. It looks like clean water has washed out the contamination at the same time another half-life decay period (8 days) has reduced the remainder.

Yes, I've read the same.

Let's hope the levels stay below the tight Japanese limits.

Did they ever validate the source of the I-131? It is easy to assume it came from Fukushima, however, it normally takes lengthy lab tests for true verification.

I think the only source of I-131 is as a fission product and it doesn't occur in decay chains from other radioactive materials. The natural sources of it would be from spontaneous fission in naturally-occurring uranium, a very rare event and likely to result in a stable level given local conditions -- an exposed granitic rock region will have more uranium and hence higher "natural" I-131 levels than an area of sandstone covered by silt and topsoil. The man-made sources of I-131 are from nuclear weapons explosions and releases from uranium-fuelled reactors where uranium fission occurs. AFAIK the last nuclear weapons weapons tests anyone has conducted were the North Korean ones several years ago -- when the seismometers detected the shocks patrol planes went out to sample the air offshore of North Korea looking for markers such as I-131 which would escape even underground tests in trace amounts. Scientists today are very good at detecting and measuring unbelievably small amounts of any given element and determining its isotopic value.

Seeing a peak in I-131 levels measured in surface water a few days after a nuclear reactor release event a couple of hundred kilometres away is pretty certain evidence that it came from Fukushima, unless there was another release from another reactor complex somewhere else. One possible candidate is the Fukushima Daini plant where all the reactors shut down safely after the earthquake and tsunami but the IAEA have issued level-3 accident advisories on three of the reactors there. Exactly what that entailed I'm not sure since all the interest is focussed on the Daiichi plant at the moment.

As of today the radiation level at one particular location on the Daiichi site, described in the reports as "south side of the office building" at Fukushima Daiichi is 830uSv/h. This is a point where, I believe, a fixed radiation monitor is located. Previous radiation levels there in the past two weeks have been reported as high as 3000uSv/h. In contrast at the Fukushima Daini plant about ten km away the radiation level on-site is currently (3rd April) 3.8uSv/h, down from a high of 15.9uSv/h on 17th March. My guess is that most of the Daini reading is due to fallout and airborne contamination from the Daiichi plant.

From Follow as posted by TFHG:

*I will say again this is a local event.. the area around this site will have issues, but that is it.*

Local? Issues? Rather ambiguous, no?

*Since Iodine 131 will not be absorbed into the body if you have taken the iodine pills*

Should everyone obtain a stock of pills, sufficient for X number of days, weeks, months....?

From a TFHG comment:

*Plutonium and radium are alpha emitters. Their radiation is unable to penetrate skin.*

Tell Alexander Litvinenko if you should happen to meet him in the afterworld. [A bitter comment of mine]


From a TFHG comment:

*Plutonium and radium are alpha emitters. Their radiation is unable to penetrate skin.*

Tell Alexander Litvinenko if you should happen to meet him in the afterworld. [A bitter comment of mine]

It was italicised and unattributed statement posted as part of a rant above. I am still not sure if John T is the source.

John T on April 2, 2011 - 6:44pm Permalink | Subthread | Parent | Parent subthread | Comments top
Dear DilusionaL



*It was italicised and unattributed statement posted as part of a rant above. I am still not sure if John T is the source.*

OK noted, and apologies if I misread.

All best,


Let me add some criticism on "For example he talks about all the leaking trenches. It appears one is leaking, likely cracked when it got hot, and suddenly cooled by water sprayed in."

The trenches are probably the three trenches where water filled up a few days ago to some cms from the spill-over to the sea, they are now reported in the NISA info (water level today some 1.5 m lower due to pumping). Further to that little problem, another crack has appeared, where water leaks, the new story. It is fair to assume that they have not found all leaks yet, they have barely started looking, and found the most obvious one.

She is a bit funny by trying the trick to divert attention from this rad leak by saying the crack came from the quake - sure that is an excuse (rolls eyes). It would be more relevant to keep informing you about what this leak means, being so smart and cool.

Apart from this I would point out: reactor 1 has 5 barA in it. Good? If a damaged weakened pipe breaks anytime? Possible?
reactor 2 is reported, at times, to have holes in it. Maybe no holes sometimes. Can anybody say if situation is under control? I do not think so.
3 reactors, all having different problems. Easy to fix and keep under control?
A few days ago the cooling of spent fuel pond 2 stopped. 70°C. Can happen...
Make all the above function about 12 months more, without mishaps. Takes some orgnisation and courage. It looks better today, but it was worse a week ago, worse than 2 weeks ago. I think this yoyo state will continue.

"Example 200 tons of water a day rather than use gallons"

I don't know, is 50,000 gallons less scary than 200 tons? I'd also point out that TEPCO/Japan seemed to select the "tons" unit when dropping water from helicopters...

How does she know everyone will get appropriate dose of iodine pills? and aren't the authorities telling us that unnecessarily taking iodine pills carries risks? so obviously it would be better for them if they didn't have to take the pills too?

How does she know what percent of radioactive contaminates is Iodine 131? 99 percent sounds high to me...but I admit that I am not a "pro-nuke physicist" at least not a pro-nuke within ~1 astronomical unit of me.

Tin, you're a good man. Don't let industry shills focus the arguments on the short term and the small scale. Take a step back and look at the bigger picture of what this means. Realistically, will we ever stop the continuing escape of this material into the environment, now that it has melted down? What does this mean for an island nation of 128 million people dependent on fossil fuel imports, nuclear energy, and fishing and farming? What does this mean for 104? nuclear power plants in the US alone with engineering designs that do not allow for blackouts? Would a hurricane mimic the Fukushima disaster with a 20 foot tidal surge and a regional 2 week blackout? How much fission material is at this plant alone, much less warehoused in "toolsheds" in a dangerously concentrated fashion throughout the US and the world? Do nuclear safety plans encompass the safety of 7 generations, much less the eons (a million years?) that are really required? Should we putting our global safety in the charge of a group of men looking for profits? We've been building plants for 40 years with a proposed life span of 40 years. Where are the long term below-ground repositories that were promised by the nuclear industry, and does inclusion of those costs make the previously positive net energy (2.7) of nuclear massively negative-net? Has any corporation ever disposed of their nuclear waste in an adequate fashion? Do our politics and heavily populated perimeters allow for safe evacuation of adequate areas in cases of a disaster? Is spraying a garden hose on the mess a proper response? Are corporations proper guardians of stars? With oil production declining from here on out, and less energy available for maintenance and remediation, will any plants be "decommissioned?" Is this really how you want to go out?


We may be able to place a sarcophagus over these 6 disaster areas for the short term, similar to Chernobyl. But as many have pointed out, we can't keep replacing shells every 30 years as we head into Descent, especially for the hundreds of nuclear plants. And no one is addressing the issue of releases into the groundwater. How many new cracks did the earthquake create. How far down is bedrock, and what is between the reactors, fuel pools, and the bedrock? As the site grows more and more hazardous, does remediation become simply impossible? What does an endless outpouring of fission products into the groundwater and ocean mean for the long term future of the pacific rim?

Don't let someone whose livelihood depends on nukes dictate the argument. I see the arguments devolving similarly here today. Ask her to answer any one of these questions, and don't let her post strawmen.

Oh no Iaato, like myself, she is an Alabamian. Similar to the Japanese in that sometimes we do not know when to quit. She went off on my worse on my Chernobyl statment. I think she also thinks RBMK's are ticking atom bombs but our operating designs are FAILSAFE. Check this out.

Well first there is no possibility this could surpass Chernobyl, and the reason why is in the desin of the reactor fuel load itself. the japanese reactor is the same as US and most all western reactors. 3 to 4 percent enrichment. they are water moderated and water cooled. The control rods are all electronically controlled with gravity drop upon loss of power or any emergency signal. Chernobyl was a highly enriched near nuclear bomb grade material, graphite moderated, water cooled, with some rods electronically controlled, most manual ratchet controlled. Chernobyl had no containment, Japan does. Chernobyl's reactor core disentegrated in the steam explosion, and graphite fire and went into the atmosphere. 20,000,000 curies of Iodine alone, compared to 3 mile island 17 curies, and while we do not have the quantities yet from Japan, all 6 reactors were shut down and not fissioning when it lost cooling. Cherobyl was not only fissioning it was beyond supercritical at the time of the explosion. Thus the reactors in Japan just cannot release the material to the environment that Chernobyl did. Just not possible. Second even if the fuel melts, that means radioactive particles will get out of the cladding and into the reactor coolant and thus if vented will condense into the containment and stay there. The spent fuel pools can, and likely have melted fuel, and the cooling efforts have likely spread some of that to other parts of the site, and are flowing and leaking into the sea nearby. Water is an incredible shield, and why we use it in spent fuel pools besides cooling. 12 feet of water between me and a fuel rod and I can stand there indefinitely, no water and I will receive enough to die in a short time. Thus by being in the water is the best place for it to be. Chernobyl spread all over the world in significan quanties and left some areas of Europe contaminated with more than just above background. This will never happen here. Just can't by the reactor design. I also wish to remind you and all readers, all nuke plants in the US and Japan are first Generation design nuclear plants, that were designed in the 60's and some 50's and back then we did not have computers, did not have good seismic knowledge and certainly not good solid state electrical controls. If the airliine industry was still first generation we would not have an airline industry. Technology and lessons learned from crashes has made that industry incredibly safe. All technologies advance by learning from the failures before. In spite of Chernobyl, we all live healthy lives, in spite of 3 mile island we all live healthy lives, and in spite of Japan we will all live healthy lives. No one died from 3 mile Island, fewer than one airline crash died from Chernobyl, and I doubt anyone from the public will be ill or die from Japan's accident. So how can you oppose something that has a better track record than electricity? or Airlines? When we build new power plants they will be infinitely better than those running today. The difference between us is that I look at things and see how badly we failed or how good we did and what can we do better. The japanese plants were designed to withstand a 15 foot Tsunami, and a 7.2 earthquake. They had a 9.0 which is what 120 times stronger? A tsunami twice the size expected, and everything survived all that except the backup generators. I consider that an amazing accomplishment and an easy correction. We have learned much from this and I can bet in the US this will not happen. I think another lesson we have learned is that leaving spent fuel for long time storage at power plants is a mistake.. We spent billions on Yucca mountain where it would be safely stored.. but anti nuke waco's put an end to that.. so spent fuel now has proven to be the hot button, and perhaps now politics will get out of the solution and allow the right thing to happen.

As she hasn't even heard of paragraphs I'm not even going to attempt to read that mess. Please no more or just brief extracts.

As I post this, despite trying not to look, my eye hits "anti nuke waco's". Is that something to do with the Branch Davidians perhaps? And what's the apostrophe doing there?

She is a physicist and a friend, but no English major. You should hear her anti-Islam or anti-welfare rants. All the while, I bet DOD or DOE pays her. This particular war is the old pro/anti nuke battle, but we have others. Just like most friends.
Friends to you too;)

For her health's sake someone should tell her to calm down and take a deep breath. It sounds like she's gone super-critical herself and is in serious danger of a meltdown.

She should realise that pro-nuclear power arguments in the future will have to be exceptionally carefully thought through if they are to get anywhere. Ranting and raving won't help her case.

I spent several years at university once upon a time pretending I was going to be a physicist. Luckily computers distracted me just in time :)

I also used to defend nuclear power on TOD as necessary going forward as a bridge to renewables. But I'd sort of assumed that some of the nuclear experts that governments and public should rely on were at least sane, even if many disagreed with their views. I'm now coming to the conclusion that many are anything but sane (perhaps it's all the radiation) and I don't want them in charge of nukes. Until they realise they have big problems to sort out they should shut-up as I'm not listening to the same old crap any more while the fate of Japan hangs in the balance.

edit: Not needed.

I'm now coming to the conclusion that many are anything but sane (perhaps it's all the radiation) and I don't want them in charge of nukes.

This is a great point! I too am amazed at the sleight of hand most pro-nuke people try to get away with. The technical arguments are a moot when it is their dishonesty which discredits them: the way they make comparisons to background radiation, ignoring the contamination issues and always use low-ball figures and dismiss any speculation on risks.

And then there is the approach they take - of ridicule instead of informing - as if only they are the holders of truth - where as we find out they have no clue what's going on in the core of these plants - or the amounts of contamination released. With such a poor show of both honesty and humbleness - they no longer deserve our trust.

It is the same situation that Gorbachev had with the Chernobyl disaster - where he had to instruct the KGB to spy on the expert committee send to the site - because they weren't telling him the truth. At least the military who then took over the operation was a bit more honest - concerned more about their own men - then the interests and reputation of the institution of nuclear power.

I have to again quote Legasov, although he gets vilified a lot by everyone for downplaying the disaster at the time he headed the disaster recovery in Chernobyl - his words afterwords are indeed more relevant now then ever:

Its easy to imagine that the enemy is the nuclear reactor. But the enemy isn't technology. I have come to the paradoxical conclusion that technology must be protected from man.

In the past, the time that included the old reactors, the time that ended with Gagarin's flight in to space, the technology was created by men who stood on the shoulders of Tolstoi and Dostojevski. They were educated in the spirit of the great humanitarian ideals. In the spirit of the beautiful and correct moral sense. They had a clear political idea of the new society they were trying to create. One that would be the most advanced in the world.

But already in the generations that succeeded them, there were engineers who stood on their shoulders and saw only the technical side of things. But if someone is only educated in technical ideas, they cannot create anything new, anything for which they are responsible for. The operators for the reactor that night considered they were doing everything well and correctly. And they were breaking the rules for the sake of doing it even better. But they had lost sight of the purpose what they were doing it for.

- Valerii Legasov, the father of Soviet Nuclear energy, interviewed after the Chernobyl accident, where he personally directed the emergency operation - and two years before he committed suicide.

Then there is this: why hasn't the IAEA visited the Fukushima site yet? They were in Chernobyl on day 10. And why hasn't the Japanese government taken over the operation at Fukushima - given at least command authority to the military? Two weeks it took for even the prime minister to bother to show up there.

Tepco - a private company - has no experience with leading such an operations - their staff would be retained as experts on site of course - but this kind of disaster is completely off the scale of their expertise. And engineers and business managers shouldn't in charge of a disaster with national, even global consequences. At least under USSR one word from Gorbachev, ones he realized the gravity of the disaster, mobilized the whole country, every resource available, for the battle to contain nuclear fire - no formalities, all bureaucracy sidelined. It was like going to war. Fukushima is 4 reactors - and nuclear pools - going on now for 23 days. The site is slowly but surely being contaminated beyond the point where repairs or perhaps even containment and cooling of the damaged fuel - will become impossible. Who will they call then, 911?

Try to avoid demonizing these folks by calling them insane and other such degrading terms. They had a great deal of confidence in themselves and in their products which failed them in this instance. People can have absolute confidence in themselves as being right and yet be absolutely wrong. That may go against our grain but it's been proven true throughout human history.

People can also have a great deal of self-confidence and be completely insane. In point of fact one of the problems with the insane is nothing getting in the way of self-confidence.

When I hear someone is against "entitlements" (by which I take it Social Security, Medicare/Medicaid, unemployment compensation and welfare in a society in which real unemployment via the market-available jobs is just under 20%) ... but is working for the nuke industry... which could not exist in a free market... all credibility is lost.

Then we look at the consequences of this industry being wrong, and "insanity" seems an accurate description of continuing to defend the indefensible.

Dont spend too much time on that person - she is blocked and locked up and dont allow herself to think wider and see the other side.
Earn her trust.
Plant some seeds.

With her arguments I dont know were to start, but every point is debatable. For instance, if Yucca cant be built because of "Eco Waccos" (citizens) well then that is part of the problem to consider. That is a problem for the nuke industry to solve. In order to achieve what they want. Well show me it is possible. That IS a part of the problem. And it is INDUSTRYs problem - not the "waccos" fault.

Oh, I don't. You just need to understand she represents a certain powerful instate faction. I am not sure but I think the local media may even consult her. Indeed she represents the last line of defense in the nuclear industry to me. I think she may even work at Brown's Ferry and did work at the install at Fukushima. She is a physicist, not a writer. Not all can be dual majored or talented. No, in term of al.com the busiest media site in Alabama, she holds quite a bit of sway. This is bigger than some blogging IMHO, much bigger.

Edit: There are two operating nuclear power plants in Alabama:

Browns Ferry in Limestone County
The Browns Ferry nuclear plant is one of the largest electric plants in the nation in terms of nameplate capacity. Among nuclear plants, it is second only to Palo Verde in Arizona.
Browns Ferry unit 1 was disabled by a fire in 1975. It was repaired and operated from 1976 through 1985. In May 2002, TVA approved a plan to rebuild the reactor. In June 2007, unit 1 was restarted.
In 1985, TVA shut down its entire nuclear fleet, including all three units at Browns Ferry. TVA restarted unit 2 in 1991 and unit 3 in 1995.
On May 4, 2006, licenses were renewed for all three reactors at Browns Ferry.
Joseph M. Farley in Houston County
On May 12, 2005, the Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) issued a 20-year license extension for both of Farley's reactors.
Contribution of Nuclear Power


I suspect many of the real TPTB are sitting looking at this mess and saying "What the F***?" despite what they say in public. Tinfoil's nuclear friend hasn't cottoned on to that yet and is obliviously stuck in the old script.

She may be in industry but she is still hired hand. I think she is talking the fresh pro-industry internal talk. I do not picture anyone standing around at all. I picture Ben Affleck and Vin Diesel in 'Boiler Room' running around putting 'lipstick on this pig' like the crap that I was trying to sell to go out with a Hooter's girl last month. Meanwhile, the front desk secretary and half the managers in the company wonder why the Feds and the cops are busting down the front door.

Have you taken the Brown's Ferry tour?

Here's a video from Tennessee Valley Authority and broadcast on CNN.
Browns Ferry Nuclear Plant Tour (3/26)

No, but I blogged with the reporter that just did. He ignored me, though I defended him. Speak was noticably (regs?) silent but bamanative, a six figure income Alabama Power or Southern Company Executive did post in his usual rude and non-explanatory manner. I ended up defending that facist (my opinion of him based upon past wars) too. I think what most folks need is some context on is the hubris and traditions here in Alabama. Few other folks would have admitted such given the nature of their posts given what I could confirm over 100's of posts is likely true. Even with the Internet and Wiki, you have to know what to ask, understand the data and how to deliver it. Also, you may get questions. The liars or at least the unfamiliar get busted easy.

She is wrong the Chernobyl reactor used less enriched fuel then the western designed reactors.

Pellets of slightly-enriched uranium oxide are enclosed in a zircaloy tube 3.65m long, forming a fuel rod.<\blockquote>

Good God. Tin, if she's an advertisement for nuclear power plant design, then we're toast. Don't waste your time.

The long-term, larger scale questions are unanswerable, and that is where any potential solutions would be if there were any answers. There aren't. And talking to people who still have a growth paradigm firmly entrenched is pointless. Complex, barely tenable systems only work with increasing amounts of energy to divert into support, maintenance, and repair, at the same time that same energy is being counted on for equally untenable subsystems in other parts of the global network. And the pollution effects are just beginning to ramp up and become additive as multiple systems start to fail and we begin to scramble desperately without failsafes for every last dreg of energy we can conjure. Is this going to be an increasingly common event--TOD open threads for the disaster du jour? I like you Tin, but I wish we weren't here talking today. Pyromaniac monkeys indeed.

(LTG Scenario 9, Meadows et al., 2004)

edit: Not needed.

Oops. I grabbed the optimistic one where we went to renewables, cut our population, and dealt with all of the other issues. Here's the baseline model run, and the second graph is an example of the increasing costs of mitigation: The air pollutant NOx can be removed from emissions to a significant degree at a low cost, but at some level of required abatement the cost of further removal rises precipitously. The marginal cost curve for NOx removal is calculated for 2010 for OECD Europe and the former USSR in euros per ton. (Source: J. R. Alcamo et al.).



"And talking to people who still have a growth paradigm firmly entrenched is pointless."

Iaato, I'm pretty sure my wife would pay you to call me every morning and repeat that, in your sternest voice. ;^(

1. Aren't Mark I reactors' control rods (and most if not all other BWRs) inserted from below?
2. Aren't Mark I reactors 2nd-generation BWRs?
3. New plants having awesome safety features are nice, but aren't there still 2nd-gen plants in service? How does one go about retrofitting them with these new safety features, and are they still economical?

The 'torus'/suppression pool design has been replaced with other (safer) solutions in the later reactor versions. These features are integral to the basic plant construction and cannot be modified after the fact. I believe some modifications to allow for safer venting of hydrogen and probably other changes as well were recommended for operators of Mark I plants.

Regardless of any skin Gunderson may or may not have in the game, your friend's claims of conflicts of interest, cherry-picking etc take me back, what is it,.. nine months, now? Remember the claims that the Macondo BOP had been blown out of the hole, the floor of the Gulf was bursting open uncontrollably, nuclear bombs would be needed,.. etc etc? Then the to-and-fro started here, to establish what biases and conflicts the various people making the various claims might or might not have? ... fascinating to see the whole thing start to unfold again in a completely different engineering context.

I wonder if that means I'm going to end up reading long detailed accident investigation reports? Somehow I doubt TEPCO are going to get their internal draft report out as fast as BP, though.

38-meter-high tsunami triggered by March 11 quake: survey

A tsunami that hit a coastal city in Iwate Prefecture after the March 11 massive earthquake is estimated to have reached 37.9 meters in height, a field survey by a researcher at the University of Tokyo showed Sunday.

In the videos, what impresses is the tremendous power of the water rushing inland.
It is not that the wave is 38 meters high, but rather that it is like an incoming torrent.
Any obstacle and the torrent piles up around it, much higher than the prevailing level.
This seems to be what is measured here.
Presumably water velocities and flow rates could be calculated from this information.
It will surely help define future safety codes.

That said, it seems that Japanese records are good enough to have provided clear evidence of a comparable sized disaster in 839AD.
These data were presented to the utility and to the government, but no action was taken.

None so deaf as those that will not hear.

869 AD. Official Japanese documents historically downplayed this event because the area was not under control of Imperial Japan at the time but by a people they were constantly at war with. I saw a Japanese Professor on NHK talking about it and he said the official death-toll estimate of about 1000 was ridiculous as many population centres were completely wiped out. He put the number many times higher than that but they weren't "Japanese" so the real story got "lost" in history.

Sand stratum from tsunami caused by 9th century quake

Handout photo shows sand stratum in Ishinomaki, Miyagi Prefecture, left behind by tsunami caused by Jogan earthquake of 869. Arrowhead shows the trace of the tsunami. (Photo provided by Masanobu Shishikura of the National Institute of Advanced Industrial Science and Technology)

With a tsunami you have a force behind the wave, not just the water height (like you do with a flood). The force leads to "splashes" that get things wet above the level of the wave. If you stand in a 3 ft surf, you can get your face/head splashed. I do not think it is approriate to take the highest point that got wet and call that the height of the tsunami, but then I don't know how they officially measure such things.

I have stood in waves waist deep and been splashed in the face, but I never stood in water and had waves form a sand bar on my face.

This is another area that bugs me in the press coverage. There are several ways for measuring Tsunami waves:

- 1) hight of wave at the shoreline.
- 2) Buoy height at sea.
- 3) run-up height (greatest height at maximum inundation distance).

Everyone coming up with very high waves (including TEPCO's assessment at Fukushima 1 of 14m) seems to be measuring run-up height. Whereas the Japan meteorological agency uses shoreline height, and have reported nothing above 8.5 meters to date. Waves can also be very highly localized, and impacted by different subsea floor characteristics, shoreline topography, and other factors. When designing for a 6.5 meter barrier, these localized effects and subsea characteristics would have to be taken into account. If these weren't at this particular site, it would appear the Fukushima plan called for a defense against a 3.25 meter wave (since local characteristics around the Fukushima site appear to have doubled the wave hight above JMA's observed record).

Thanks for raising the issue, but the Fukushima complex is right on the shore, how can the 13-14 meter height reported at that location not be related to the actual rise above sea level?

I have a related question. Which of the US plants are on the shore? Any?

Sea shore? Brown's Ferry is river side... a friend of mine would be in a 20km exclusion zone...

Turkey Point nuclear power plant is 25 miles south of Miami, FL. In 1992, the plant took a direct hit from Hurricane Andrew. I don't recall much news regarding reactor damage after hurricane.
Turkey Point License Review

Last month, I posted this message to fill in memory gaps for newspaper readers in South Florida. FPL is in currently seeking approval to construct two new AP1000 reactors on the site, which I oppose on several grounds (engineering, economic, environmental, safety, etc).


As I recall, Andrew's eye wall center when in just north of Turkey Point. Thus it only encountered the southern weak side of the eye wall winds, where forward velocity of ~20mph was subtracted from the top wind speed.

None the less, Andrew knocked out he facilities outside power for 5 days, and inflicted major damage(gaping 200ft crack) on a 400ft high smoke stack for the oil fueled generating unit #1. Located perilously close to that damaged smoke stack was the building housing the Backup diesel generators!!

If the smoke stack had fallen during or after the storm we could have faced a similar situation that japan is dealing with. Sound familiar??.)


Andrew's winds collapsed several huge fresh water tanks and damaged the pumps used for fire fighting. Storm surge also ruptured the fuel oil tank for unit #1, discharging 100,000 gallons of bunker oil all over the turkey point facility.

*With no outside water supply, facility managers ran firefighting hoses into the salt water cooling ponds.*

Lastly, As I recall the entire facility came within a few hours of running out of diesel fuel for the backup generators.

Frankly I'm surprised we made it this far without another major meltdown in the USA. We've already had our close call, why tempt fate?

Note: The new AP1000 reactor design reduces concrete usage by 50% over conventional nuclear power plant designs, but that design feature comes with a price. The unbalanced containment structure achieves positive buoyancy once flood waters reach 50 to 55ft above ground level. If the containment structure tips over, the fancy passive, gravity based backup cooling systems goes out the window (so to speak).

There's one in NC down near Brunswick, NC. It's at the mouth of the Cape Fear River and is undoubtedly very near sea level. It's a two reactor plant with BWR's. Of course, it's also been hit by numerous hurricanes in the past without incident, so I'm figuring it has some serious berms around it to keep the storm surge out.

Either that or all the important stuff is elevated to stay out of the water.

Tsunami risk was never considered in UK nuclear power design; almost every plant's on the coast.


I live almost exactly ten miles from the blue blob labelled "Berkeley", one of the oldest UK power generating reactors (designed in the 50s). They've just recently locked the doors on the reactor hall pending the next stage of the decommissioning process, in seventy or eighty years time IIRC. The map doesn't show it very well but there's another station at Oldbury, a few miles down the coast.

At least we haven't got any offshore oil down this way...

You suck. I was blissful. Closest nuke plant to me, some 200 miles:
Killona, Louisiana, St. Charles: Elevation 30 ft (9.1 m)
Waterford 3
05000382 PWR 25 miles W of New Orleans, LA Entergy Nuclear Operations, Inc. region 4.

Thanks though, all politics are local and thanks to the USA, French and the commies, it seems all radiation emitting particles are local too.

Thanks really though.

I would think you are closer to oil mishaps than nuclear mishaps. Which mishap are you more concerned with? Oil or Nuclear...

BP is in news today for request to resume drilling at 10 deepwater wells in July.
BP Seeks to Resume Drilling

Sadly no, I am in more fights than you could only imagine. See my Macondo photobucket from the spill. A true photolog and video log of the whole thing. Including Hooters's Girls, the president, Jimmy Buffett, and even some Nazi facist police and facist neo-Nazi security guards. http://s892.photobucket.com/home/tinfoilhatguy

I wrote up brief descriptions of the coastal plants here.

If these ones on the west coast of the USA have a core meltdown and spew radionuclides into the atmosphere, the fallout will travel eastward across the country.

Diablo Canyon Nuclear Power Plant, California

San Onofre Nuclear Power Plant, California

Use Google image search to find photos.

Actually they've found debris washed up as high as 30m from sea level:


"A joint research team from Yokohama National University and University of Tokyo surveying the Ofunato city shoreline made the discovery.

They found fishing equipment scattered on the high cliff of the city's Ryori Bay and have determined the tsunami reached as high as 29.6 meters."

Wave height varied along the coast depending on local topography and coastal configuration. Iwate has many small bays and inlets that magnified the waves and increased their local height.

Yeah, good point, which I now see idyl did address. In this regard, it must be the case that below sea level topography is also a factor. In most situations the tsunami height that can occur seems more important than the height of the wave just offshore. I am hopeful, although not optimistic, that potential onshore wave height has been used in the "design basis" of current reactors.

It is important to delineate the various issues clearly. It would seem that shore side wave height (water depth?) was 14 meters at Fukushima. Still unanswered is the question of how the Japanese meteorological agency defines wave height.

It's telling that the U.S. Navy has ordered the carrier George Washington to sea with hundreds of civilian workers on-board to complete repairs that were underway dockside in Yokosuka, 170 miles from Fukushima.
That's a very unusual move, usually done only in wartime.
Some of the best nuclear experts are in the Navy and I suspect they are privy to much more hard intelligence on the situation at Fukushima Dai-ichi.
The Navy also doesn't buy into public relations when its ships and people are at risk.

Very interesting.
The actions of the Navy have been a most reliable guide to the actual state of affairs in this crisis.
The helicopter reconnaissance flight just after the accident, followed by a hasty withdrawal of the carrier, spoke volumes.
This seems to be another such development.
It would be useful to have the wind direction maps that the Navy uses to make its decisions.

OK - now we are talking, or rather, actions speaks more.
Expect a fair amount of rad sea water to be moving south along the coast.
Yokosuka is around Tokyo bay from wiki.

If you want to command GW to some other port later on, just maybe you do not want to have too high rad levels from the hull. So off to safety on the sea.

No no nothing to see here, keep moving people, nothing at all.

Yes, and note that Yokusuka is 30 miles south of Tokyo! So the US was evacuating its personnel on the other side of a ~40 million population center even though the Japanese evacuated none of those people.

The George Washington is not the only US ship likely to be docked at Yokosuka at any given time. I've visited the city a couple of times now and it is worth pointing out there are a large number of families of US military personnel living in the area. The main street south of the railway station is lined with real estate shops offering house rentals and short-term lets to military dependents as well as car leasing, banking etc. If the USN was really worried about dispersed fallout affecting that area to any great extent then there would have been a stream of airliners carrying those dependents out of the danger zone and that would have been reported, especially in the American press unless it was done under conditions of incredible secrecy. Has there been such an exodus? Where are the thousands of such dependents today?

Search the news for "operation Pacific Passage"

Since Saturday, the U.S. Department of Defense has been running "Operation: Pacific Passage," an effort that is expected to help reduce the demand on the Japanese government for food, water, fuel and electricity in the aftermath of the March 11 earthquake and tsunami by moving thousands of Americans out of the country.

All four branches of the U.S. military have installations in Japan.

Denver is one of four participating airports; the others are in San Francisco, Seattle and Travis AFB in California.

The passengers landing in Denver today had cleared customs in Seattle earlier, where they were also tested for radiation. Naval officials on Saturday told the Tacoma News-Tribune that as many as 6,700 families are expected to travel through SeaTac airport before the operation concludes March 27.


Even without the rad issues rolling blackouts can not be fun.

*It's telling that the U.S. Navy has ordered the carrier George Washington to sea with hundreds of civilian workers on-board to complete repairs that were underway dockside in Yokosuka, 170 miles from Fukushima.*

Just returned from a walk - would be grateful for a link.

Thank you for a very helpful posting.
The story has the carrier moving out Mar 21st, so this was clearly a precautionary move unrelated to any recent wind shifts.
Still, this is a major decision and as the OP said, not something the Navy does often, although they did for the battle of Midway.
It does seem that there is more troubling data on the site airborne emissions than has been publicly disclosed, because this move makes no sense otherwise.

There's this from Friday's Stars and Stripes:

YOKOSUKA NAVAL BASE, Japan — Frustrated Navy families say they are being advised by military medical officials to send their young children out of Japan, but they aren’t getting the straight answers needed to gauge the risks to their children’s health after March 11's earthquake and tsunami.
U.S. Naval Hospital Yokosuka is calling parents of children age 5 and under and recommending that they send their children out of the country, several parents told Stars and Stripes.


The individual get trapped in limbo. A bit naive to believe that government should serve everything on a silver plate, no? :)
Sometimes we need to grow up and take a decision based on gut feeling - only you yourself is in charge of your life.
Lucky to have a choice at least,
the opposite is being propelled from one situation to the next going who knows where finally.

A few things in the article gave me slight pause...

First, they left the air wing ashore, presumably because they needed quarters for the civilians...? So i would think that those airmen would also be relocated if the crews health was the concern BUT that part wasn't reported.

Second, the structure and word use in the first sentence below, combined with my first observation made me wonder...The George Washington is a nuclear powered carrier...is it possible that some of the work being done may have been to the ships electrical/electronics systems or the nuclear systems and that the level of radiation was interfering with them completing the work rather than a health concern...?

"Maintenance work on the aircraft carrier George Washington was continuing March 30 in waters off Japan, more than a week after it left its berth in Fleet Activities Yokosuka to escape radiation detected by the ship’s sensitive equipment during a yard period.

...On March 21, when GW left Yokosuka as a precautionary measure, it carried its ships’ company of 3,100 — its air wing stayed ashore — as well as some 450 civilian shipyard workers from the naval shipyards in Puget Sound, Wash., and Norfolk, Va."

Makes good sense, if you are doing Maintenance, you do NOT want your Radiation sensors 'going off' on the wind borne stuff....