Michele Kearney's Nuclear Wire

Major News and Commentary Military and Civilian Nuclear Activities

Saturday, April 2, 2011

The Lessons of Fukushima

The Lessons of Fukushima
Hugh Gusterson, The Bulletin of Atomic Scientists: "More to the point, what lessons will we learn from the nuclear accident at Fukushima, an accident thought to be impossible just two weeks ago?.. We now have a government captured by special interests, paralyzed by partisanship, and confused by astroturfing political groups and phony scientific experts for sale to the highest bidder. Our democracy and our regulatory agencies are husks of what they once were. It is unclear that such a system is capable of learning any lessons or indeed of doing anything much beyond generating speeches and passing the responsibility for failure back and forth like a Ping-Pong ball between our two yapping political parties."
Read the Article

Setting the record straight about Washington's commercial nuclear reactor

Setting the record straight about Washington's commercial nuclear reactor

Guest columnist Mark Reddeman, CEO of Energy Northwest, addresses some questions that have been raised about Columbia Generating Station, Washington state's one commercial nuclear reactor, in the wake of Japan's tsunami-caused nuclear crisis.
Special to The Times

Let's Talk About a Realistic Energy Policy

Let's Talk About a Realistic Energy Policy

TEPCO Press Releases 4/02

1. New!(Apr 02,2011)Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 5:00 PM, April 2)
2. New!(Apr 02,2011)Out flow of fluid containing radioactive materials to the ocean from areas near intake channel of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station Unit 2
3. New!(Apr 02,2011)Plant Status of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station (as of 11:00 AM, April 2nd)
4. New!(Apr 02,2011)Status of TEPCO's Facilities and its services after the Tohoku-Taiheiyou-Oki Earthquake (as of 10:00AM)

46th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

46th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs

ansnuclearcafe | April 2, 2011 at 11:43 | Categories: News | URL: http://wp.me/p11rYD-187

The discontinuous nature of current events suggests this graphic of a mobius strip as the design basis for a roller coaster.
The 46th Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs is up at Next Big Future.  The
carnival  features blog posts from the leading U.S. nuclear bloggers and is a roundup of featured content from them.
This week there is continuing news from Fukushima, but there are also a diverse set of posts on nuclear energy topics.
If you want to hear the voice of the nuclear renaissance, the Carnival of Nuclear Energy Blogs is where to find it.
Past editions have been hosted at Cool Hand Nuke, NEI Nuclear Notes, ANS Nuclear Cafe, Yes Vermont Yankee, Idaho Samizdat, and several other popular nuclear energy blogs.
If you have a pro-nuclear energy blog, and would like to host an edition of the carnival, please contact Brian Wang at Next Big Future to get on the rotation.
This is a great collaborative effort that deserves your support. Please post a Tweet, a Facebook entry, or a link on your Web site or blog to support the carnival.

THE NUCLEAR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK News in Brief / No. 88 / 2nd April 2011

THE NUCLEAR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK News in Brief / No. 88 / 2nd April 2011

Tepco Finds Source Of Highly Radioactive Water Leak

2 Apr (NucNet): Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) says it has identified a source of a leak of highly radioactive water leaking into the ocean from unit 2 at the Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear plant.

The power company said today (Saturday) that water has been seeping from a 20 cm crack in the wall of a two-metre-deep pit that contains power cables near the reactor's water intake.

Water between 10 and 20 cms deep was found in the pit. The radiation level has been measured at more than 1,000 millisieverts (mSv) per hour at the surface of the contaminated water in the pit, Tepco said in a statement today at noon local time.

Tepco said it is preparing to inject concrete into the cracked pit to stop the leak.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) confirmed the crack could be one of the sources of radioactivity found in seawater near the water outlet.

NISA said it has asked Tepco to test samples of seawater at more locations near the plant and analyse them for different radioactive materials.

In the past week, the radiation detected in water in the basement of the turbine building at unit 2 has been about 100,000 times higher than the normal level. High levels of radiation were also found in puddles in a utility trench outside the turbine building.

Tepco also said it had made errors measuring the composition of radioactive isotopes in samples of contaminated water taken from plant buildings, trenches, and the sea. The total activity and the iodine-131 values were correct, but the tellurium-129 and molybdenum-99 values were too high because of a programming error in their laboratory. The corrected data have since been published on Tepco’s website.

Meanwhile, NISA has said radiation dose levels around the plant are now safe in areas such as the village of Iitake, where authorities had earlier urged residents to avoid drinking tap water after tests showed it contained more than three times the maximum standard of radioactive iodine.

The International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) reported that on 1 April, iodine-131 was detected in seven prefectures ranging from 7 to 74 becquerel per square metre. The level of caesium-137 in nine prefectures ranged from 2.9 to 76 becquerel per square metre. Reported gamma dose rates in the 45 prefectures showed no significant changes compared to 31 March 2011.

NISA said that 106,000 people from Fukushima prefecture had been body-scanned for radioactivity and 102 were above the safe level of 100,000 counts per minute (cpm). When re-checked without their clothing, they were below the limit.

NISA reported that among the workers at the Fukushima-Daiichi plant, 21 have received doses exceeding the 100-mSv limit. No worker has received a dose above 250 mSv, which is the dose limit for urgent emergency work according to international recommendations.

Dan Yurman 
Mobile: 208-521-5726 

Global Clean Energy Investment Reached Record 243 Billion Dollars In 2010

Global Clean Energy Investment Reached Record 243 Billion Dollars In 2010

Italy attracted $13.9 billion in clean energy financing last year, improving its global standing to fourth, from eighth in 2009. Italy is the first country to achieve grid parity, or cost-competitiveness, for solar energy.
by Staff Writers Washington DC (SPX) Mar 30, 2011 Global clean energy finance and investment grew significantly in 2010 to $243 billion, a 30 percent increase from the previous year. China, Germany, Italy and India were among the nations that most successfully attracted private investments, according to new research released by The Pew Charitable Trusts. China continued to solidify its position as the world's clean energy powerhouse. Its record $54.4 billion in investments in 2010 represents a 39 percent increase from 2009. Germany was second in the G-20, up from third last year, after experiencing a 100 percent increase in investment to $41.2 billion.
"The clean energy sector is emerging as one of the most dynamic and competitive in the world, witnessing 630 percent growth in finance and investments since 2004," said Phyllis Cuttino, director of Pew's Clean Energy Program. "Countries like China, Germany and India were attractive to financers because they have national policies that support renewable energy standards, carbon reduction targets and/or incentives for investment and production and that create long-term certainty for investors."
The United States, which had maintained the top spot until 2008, fell another rung in 2010 to third with $34 billion. The United Kingdom experienced the largest decline among the G-20, falling from fifth to 13th. The report suggests that uncertainty surrounding clean energy policies in these countries is causing investors to look elsewhere for opportunities.
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The Future Of Concentrating Solar Power Technologies

The Future Of Concentrating Solar Power Technologies

File image.

Washington DC (SPX) Apr 01, 2011 Solar thermal power generation depends on both a high solar intensity and a large amount of direct incident radiation not scattered by clouds. The best sites are generally in arid, desert regions with high annual sunshine levels. Most of these sites are found between 15 and 40 of latitude either side of the equator.
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Chris Martenson Exclusive: New Photos Of Fukushima Reactors

Chris Martenson Exclusive: New Photos Of Fukushima Reactors

Kirk Sorensen explains the LFTR

Kirk Sorensen explains the LFTR

Kirk Sorensen explains the LFTR at Protospace in Calgary, AB, Canada.“

U.S. names nuke safety review team amid news of leaks from Japanese plant


U.S. names nuke safety review team amid news of leaks from Japanese plant

Is the UCS a friend to nuclear power?

Is the UCS a friend to nuclear power?

http://nucleargreen.blogspot.com/2011/04/is-ucs-friend-to-nuclear-power.html

Ordeal Continues for Japan's Nuclear Evacuees

Ordeal Continues for Japan's Nuclear Evacuees

In a televised address to the nation, Japan’s Prime Minister Naoto Kan has said the evacuation of residents from around the stricken Fukushima power plant will be long term.  An estimated 70,000 people have been moved from settlements near the plant. Much of the population of Futaba town were evacuated to a huge stadium on the outskirts of the capital, Tokyo. They are now being moved on to yet another shelter.

Evacuating the population of an entire town is no simple task. For 1,200 residents of Futaba town - next to the stricken Fukushima nuclear plant - the Saitama Super Arena has been home for the past two weeks.

It is a cavernous concrete stadium. Freight locomotives and bullet trains sweep past every minute of the day. On the arena floor - normally occupied by pop bands and screaming fans - the residents have constructed cardboard walls and laid out their blankets on their small patches of ground.

The facility could hardly be described as homey.  For Futaba’s evacuees, like Teiji Idogawa and his family, the uncertainty is starting to tell.

He says, "It has been tough. But we’ve been well taken care of by everyone. We’re really grateful.”  But he adds, “I don’t know when we can go home… I hope we can go very soon.  Going home is all I’ve been thinking about."

No one knows when Futaba’s people will return to what’s left of their homes. High radiation levels are still being detected even beyond the 20 kilometer evacuation zone.
Japan evacuation zone
The full impact of the radiation leaks on the local environment is not yet known. But some analysts fear the area around the Fukushima plant could remain dangerous for months if not years.

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 46

April 02, 2011

Carnival of Nuclear Energy 46

Safeguarding Spent Fuel Pools in the United States

Safeguarding Spent Fuel Pools in the United States

Unhappy about management of spent fuel?

Unhappy about management of spent fuel?

Blue Ribbon Commission says that applies to just about everyone

BNC Some Other Perspectives on Fukushima

Some other perspectives on Fukushima

Apart from getting on with my life (e.g., building a new computer, catching up with my backlog at work, spending time with the family, etc.), I've been spending the last few days reading widely on what other people have had to say, in reflection, on the Fukushima crisis. Here are some highlights:
1. Bill Tucker, author of the book "Terrestrial Energy" (which I discussed in detail in this post back in 2009, and reviewed here), wrote a piece for The Americal Spectator called "Pass the Plutonium".  The leading paragraph:
People think that Fukushima will mean the end of nuclear power, but I'm convinced it's the opposite. We're going to lose our nuclear virginity over this accident and start seeing the world as adults. In fact it's already happening.
2. The video linked to in the image below was mentioned in the BNC comments -- an ABC (US) news feature called "Japan Nuke Crisis: American in Dead Zone". It's a perspective on local area an sea water radiation levels, from an American doctor Robert Gale (a radiation expert) sent by the US to advise the Japanese government on Fukushima, and has years of experience working around Chernobyl. He is definitely worth listening to...

3. Mark Lynas (author of the wonderful albeit troubling book Six Degrees) and Chris Goodall (author of Ten Technologies to Fix Energy and Climate) -- two very serious and critical thinking environmentalists trying to tackle climate change -- offer this excellent essay: The dangers of nuclear power in light of Fukushima. You really must read it all, but here, as a taster, is their final paragraph:
Read more of this post

Japanese Seismologist in 2004 on Risk of Nuclear Accident: "It's Like a Kamikaze Terrorist Wrapped in Bombs Just Waiting to Explode"

Japanese Seismologist in 2004 on Risk of Nuclear Accident: "It's Like a Kamikaze Terrorist Wrapped in Bombs Just Waiting to Explode"

from Washington's Blog

How Dangerous is the Plutonium from the Japanese Nuclear Plant?

How Dangerous is the Plutonium from the Japanese Nuclear Plant?

from Washington's Blog

Energy Secretary Chu on the U.S. energy future

Energy Secretary Chu on the U.S. energy future

Fukushima, risk, and probability: Expect the unexpected

Fukushima, risk, and probability: Expect the unexpected

We continue to populate our planet with technologies that have catastrophic potential. We have vulnerable concentrations of humans, economic power, and hazardous materials. The most fearful concentrations of hazardous materials are in nuclear power plants. A serious accident there could kill hundreds or even thousands of people, and contaminate large areas of land for as long as a century.

The End of Nonproliferation

The End of Nonproliferation

Doug Bandow, The National Interest

Nonproliferation long has been an American and European priority. Best achieved peacefully, the U.S. government nevertheless views the objective as important enough to warrant war. Even today Washington refuses to forswear military action against Iran and North Korea. Until now, Libya was used to showcase the policy of peaceful nonproliferation. But the West’s attack on that nation has turned the Libyan example inside out. The allies have effectively destroyed the chance of persuading any state at odds with the West from acquiring a nuclear bomb. No government which imagines itself in Washington’s gunsight is likely to ever again voluntarily give up the one weapon capable of deterring America.
Read Full Article ››
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Will Fukushima Force Iran to Reconsider Nuclear Program?

Will Iran Rethink Nuclear Power?

Sadjadpour, The Atlantic


While Japan's unfolding nuclear and humanitarian crisis resurrected longstanding fears in the West about the safety of nuclear power and the potential vulnerabilities of the world's over 400 operational nuclear power plants, among Iranians it seems to have inaugurated a long overduedebate.
Read Full Article ››

ATOL INVESTIGATION : Chinese pieces to Iran's nuclear puzzle

ATOL INVESTIGATION : Chinese pieces to Iran's nuclear puzzle

Military analysts claim East Asia is becoming Iran's main source of nuclear-related material and devices and often the origin of these goods is China. Asia Times Online investigates the substance to allegations that, with Dubai no longer an option, Iran is increasingly turning to middlemen to obtain from China what it needs to keep its contested nuclear industry running. - Bertil Lintner (Mar 29, '11)

China to maintain nuclear power goal

China to maintain nuclear power goal

China's need for a greatly expanded energy base allied to its domestic commitment to rein in pollution means it is unlikely to pull back on plans to build more nuclear power plants, whatever the outcome of recently instituted reviews and a suspension of approvals for new projects. - Olivia Chung

FUKUSHIMA: Reactor #2 Is Cracked And Leaking Highly Radioactive Water Into The Ocean

FUKUSHIMA: Reactor #2 Is Cracked And Leaking Highly Radioactive Water Into The Ocean

from Clusterstock

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (2 April 2011, 12:00 UTC)

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Nuclear Accident (2 April 2011, 12:00 UTC)

Presentations:
Summary of Reactor Status, 2 April 2011, 12.00 UTC

On Saturday, 2 April 2011, the IAEA provided the following information on the current status of nuclear safety in Japan:
1.Current Situation
Overall at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the situation remains very serious.
In preparation for transferring water in the basement of the Unit 1 turbine building to the condenser, water in the condenser storage tank is being transferred to surge tank of the suppression pool since 31 March 03:00 UTC. Water in the trench was transferred to a water tank at the central environmental facility main building. The water level in the trench was reduced by 1 metre to 1.14 metre below the top of the trench on 31 March. On Unit 2 in order to prepare for removal of the water from turbine building basement, pumping of water from the condenser to suppression pool water surge was started 29 March 07:45 UTC and was finished 1 April 02:50 UTC. On Unit 3 in order to prepare for removal of the water from turbine building basement, pumping of water from the condenser to suppression pool water surge was started 28 March 08:40 UTC and completed 30 March 23:37 UTC.
In a press release on the 2nd April NISA reported the following. Water with dose rate of greater than 1000 millisievert/hr was confirmed by TEPCO at around 00:30 UTC on 2nd April in a pit housing cables located next to the Unit 2 sea water inlet point. There exists a crack on the sidewall of the pit, about 20cm in length, and water inside the pit is confirmed to be leaking directly to the sea. The isotopic analysis of water samples from inside the pit, the sea and near the seawater inlet bar screen filter is in process. Currently a plan to patch the pit with concrete is underway to stop the leakage. An investigation on the leakage path to this pit is on-going and measures to stop leakage to the sea will be implemented.
Transfer of fresh water from a US Navy barge to the 'filtered water tank' started on 1 April 06:58 UTC, and was suspended on 1 April 07:25 UTC due to a connection failure. A second US Navy barge left Onahama port and planned to arrive 2 April 00:30 UTC.
On Unit 1 fresh water has been continuously injected into the reactor pressure vessel through the feed-water line at an indicated flow rate of 8 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with diesel backup. The indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV has decreased from 256 °C to 249 °C and at the bottom of RPV decreased from 128 °C to 119 °C. There was a corresponding decrease in RPV pressure and Drywell pressure.
Fresh water is injected continuously through fire extinguisher line on Unit 2 at an indicated rate of 9 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with diesel backup. The indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV has decreased from 165 °C to 161 °C. The temperature at the bottom of RPV was not reported. Indicated Drywell pressure remains at atmospheric pressure.
On Unit 3 Fresh water is being injected continuously at an indicated rate of 7 m3/h into the reactor core through the fire extinguisher line using a temporary electric pump with diesel backup. The indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV is about 119 °C and at the bottom of RPV is about 90 °C.
Fresh water (90 T) was pumped into the spent fuel pool in Unit 1 using a concrete pumping truck on 31 March. In Unit 2, injection of water into spent fuel pond using the temporary pump was restarted on 1 April 05:56 UTC. Fresh water (180 T) was pumped into the spent fuel pool on Unit 4 using a concrete pumping truck on 1 April.
Units 5 and 6 remain in cold shutdown with plant systems operating on off-site AC power.
2. Radiation Monitoring
On 1 April, deposition of iodine-131 was detected in 7 prefectures ranging from 7 to 74 becquerel per square metre. Deposition of cesium-137 in 9 prefectures was reported on April 1st ranging from 2.9 to 76 becquerel per square metre. Reported gamma dose rates in the 45 prefectures showed no significant changes compared to yesterday.
The Ministry of Agriculture, Forestry and Fisheries of Japan informed the IAEA that, because of winter conditions, most cattle, pigs and chickens are presently kept indoors. Animals are primarily fed on stored dried grass, silage and grain that has not been contaminated by the releases from the Fukushima Daiichi NPP.
On 31 March, NISA reported that among the workers at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, 21workers have received doses exceeding 100 mSv. No worker has received a dose above 250 mSv, which is the dose limit for emergency workers.
On the 30 March, 180 000 Bq/l of I-131 and 15 000 Bq/l of Cs -137 were detected in the vicinity of the discharge water outlet of Unit 4.
The data reported for 27th - 30th March indicated that the levels at 30 m from the common discharge point of Units 5 and 6 were relatively constant at 45 000 - 55 000 Bq/l for I-131 and 10 000 - 15 000 Bq/l for Cs-137.
In addition to the 8 sampling points 30 km from the coast two additional monitoring stations were added in the South, 10km and 20 km from shore. The values reported for 28 and 30 March indicate a non-uniform distribution and trend.

Fukushima Nuclear Accident – Exceptional Summary by Murray E. Miles

Fukushima Nuclear Accident – Exceptional Summary by Murray E. Miles

My friends who are naval aviators have a saying that seems appropriate here – “tis easier to seek forgiveness than to ask permission.”

Regulator Says Radioactive Water Leaking Into Ocean From Japanese Nuclear Plant

Regulator Says Radioactive Water Leaking Into Ocean From Japanese Nuclear Plant

Status report: Reactor-by-reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant

Status report: Reactor-by-reactor at the Fukushima Daiichi plant

Reactor Core Was Severely Damaged, U.S. Official Says

Reactor Core Was Severely Damaged, U.S. Official Says

Steven Chu said Friday that roughly 70 percent of the core of one reactor at the crippled Fukushima nuclear plant in Japan had suffered severe damage.

Multimedia

Members of the Japan Maritime Self-Defense Force prepare to search for tsunami and earthquake victims off Iwate Prefecture on Friday.
His assessment of the damage to Reactor No. 1 was the most specific yet from an American official on how close the plant came to a full meltdown after it was hit by a severe earthquake and massive tsunami on March 11.

 In addition to the severe damage at Reactor No. 1, the Energy Department said that Reactor No. 2 had suffered a 33 percent meltdown. Mr. Chu cautioned that the figures were “more of a calculation” because radiation levels inside the plant had been too high for workers to get inside, and sensors were unreliable.

Japan nuclear crisis: Sarkozy calls for global rules

Japan nuclear crisis: Sarkozy calls for global rules

Testing for radiation at an evacuation centre in Koriyama, Fukushima prefecture, northern Japan, 31 March, 2011. Authorities have been testing people in Fukushima prefecture for radiation exposure
French President Nicolas Sarkozy has called for clear international standards on nuclear safety in light of the ongoing crisis at Japan's Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant.

Japan's nuclear reactor: radioactive leaks

Japan's nuclear reactor: radioactive leaks

There has been a sharp rise in radioactive iodine in the sea off the Fukushima nuclear power plant, with radioactivity thousands of times higher than the legal limit. The most likely sources of the leaks are Reactors 2 and 3, as detailed here.
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IAEA Daily Press Review

IAEA Daily Press Review

The objective of the DPR is to present a general overview of international, English-language, media coverage of the IAEA and nuclear issues, that does not purport to be exhaustive. The following articles are obtained from external news sources for whose content the IAEA takes no responsibility.
March 31, 2011
Fukushima Nuclear Accident Update
Please note that upcoming updates on the Fukushima nuclear accident will be posted on our website www.iaea.org and on the IAEA Facebook account.
Japan nuclear watchdog: radiation may be leaking continuously into sea The consistently high levels of radiation found in the sea outside Japan’s tsunami-damaged nuclear plant complex may mean that radiation is leaking out continuously, Japan’s nuclear watchdog said on Thursday. Reuters
IAEA finds high radiation levels outside Japan evacuation zone Radiation levels in a Japanese town outside a government-ordered evacuation zone have exceeded one of the criteria for evacuation, the International Atomic Energy Agency said Wednesday. CNN / NYTimes / WashingtonPost
Pressure mounts on Japan to widen nuclear exclusion zone Pressure mounted on Japan on Thursday to expand the evacuation zone around its stricken nuclear power plant while officials said radiation may be flowing continuously into the nearby sea, where contamination was now 4,000 times the legal limit. Reuters
Japan says no plan to widen nuclear evacuation zone Japan said Thursday there were no immediate plans to widen the exclusion zone around its stricken nuclear plant, hours after the UN atomic watchdog agency voiced its concern over the issue. Asia One
Radiation in seawater around Japan plant 4,385 times over legal limit The levels of radioactive iodine found in seawater near Japan’s stricken nuclear power plant was 4,385 times more than the legal limit on Thursday, the nuclear safety agency said. Reuters
Japan says battle to save nuclear reactors has failed Japanese officials have conceded that the battle to salvage four crippled reactors at the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear power plant has been lost. Guardian
State considers options to deal with radioactivity at plant Government officials are scrambling to devise emergency measures–including covering damaged reactor buildings and using robots–to deal with radioactive materials that have hindered work at the crippled Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant. Asahi
IAEA in the News

UN meeting on Japanese nuclear crisis in June will tackle political impact The high-level conference that the United Nations global nuclear safety watchdog is hosting in June will address the political impact of the the Japanese power plant crisis, and not just its technical aspects, the agency’s chief said today. UN NewsWire
Singapore got cabbages from Japan with radiation – IAEA Singapore has told the U.N. nuclear watchdog some cabbages imported from Japan had radiation levels up to nine times the levels recommended for international trade, IAEA officials said on Wednesday. Reuters
Lawmaker calls for Taiwan’s IAEA participation A lawmaker called for Taiwan to join the international nuclear energy watchdog International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA) amid Japan’s ongoing Fukushima nuclear power plant crisis. CNA
Other Nuclear News
Japanese Plant Had Barebones Risk Plan Tokyo Electric Power Co.’s disaster plans greatly underestimated the scope of a potential accident at its Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant, calling for only one stretcher, one satellite phone and 50 protective suits in case of emergencies. WSJ
Anti-tsunami measures almost an afterthought at Fukushima plant The catastrophic events that crippled the Fukushima No. 1 nuclear power plant were mainly due to a tsunami that was off the charts. Nobody foresaw such towering tidal waves hitting with such force…. problems were exacerbated by safety design for important equipment as well as inadequate emergency procedures, according to people associated with Tokyo Electric Power Co., the plant’s operator. Asahi
EPA boosts radiation monitoring, says levels are low The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency said Wednesday it is increasing its nationwide monitoring of radiation in milk, precipitation, drinking water, and other outlets in response to the ongoing nuclear crisis in Japan. CNN
San Onofre nuclear plant operators propose seismic study The operators of the San Onofre nuclear power plant are proposing a multimillion-dollar study that would use new technology to better assess seismic conditions near the northern San Diego County complex. LATimes
Workers Give Glimpse of Japan’s Nuclear Crisis With the power out, trucks were parked in a circle with their lights on, creating a shadowy stage. A manager from the Tokyo Electric Power Company explained how the Fukushima Daiichi nuclear plant had been slammed by a mammoth tsunami and rocked by hydrogen explosions and had become highly radioactive. Some workers wept. NYTimes
Japan’s Nuclear Lessons Will Get Applied Right Away, U.S. Regulator Says Nuclear-power plant regulators will apply lessons from Japan’s reactor crisis immediately without delaying until licenses are renewed, the head of operations at the U.S. Nuclear Regulatory Commission said. Bloomberg / NYTimes / WSJ / CSM
Japan nuclear refugees feel ‘betrayed’ Refugees who fled Japan’s tsunami-hit nuclear reactors say they have been betrayed by the company that runs them, accusing embattled operator TEPCO of creating a “man-made disaster”. AFP
Japan nuclear crisis: ‘140 US military radiation experts to visit Japan’ About 140 US military radiation safety experts will soon visit Japan to provide help as the nation deals with a stricken nuclear plant, Kyodo news agency said on Thursday, quoting an defense ministry official. Economic Times
China to Focus on Solar Farms, Cut 2020 Nuclear Goal After Japan’s Crisis China, the world’s biggest energy consumer, will cut its 2020 target for nuclear power capacity and build more solar farms following Japan’s atomic crisis, said an official at the National Development and Reform Commission. Bloomberg / Reuters
Nuclear crisis evacuation plan outlined Nuclear Regulatory Commission chairman Gregory Jaczko said the federal government would seek to evacuate residents within 50 miles of a power plant in the event of an accident similar to Japan’s nuclear crisis. Boston.com
Slovenia nuclear plant back on line after incident Slovenia’s only nuclear power plant was up and running again Wednesday, a week after it was shut down due to a minor incident that presented no danger to humans or to the environment, the plant’s operator said, cited by AFP. Focus Fen
Whistleblower suit filed vs. Calif. nuclear plant A former manager at one of California’s two nuclear power stations sued the facility’s operators on Wednesday, claiming he was fired in retaliation for reporting safety concerns at the plant. Reuters
Opinion and Analysis
Radiation fixes may help Fukushima exclusion zone Reuters
Japan’s nuclear nightmare set to run and run Reuters
Nuclear radiation in pop culture: more giant lizards than real science CSM
Nuclear power industry must now give nod to naysayers Asahi
Japan’s crisis a reason to look at energy use Citizen

Fukushima Fallout Reaches San Francisco

arXiv blog

Fukushima Fallout Reaches San Francisco

Small amounts of radioactive material have turned up in rainwater in the Bay Area, say nuclear scientists

Does Nuclear Grade Graphite Burn?

Does Nuclear Grade Graphite Burn?

Does Nuclear Grade Graphite burn?

The Union of Concerned Scientists's Ed Lyman never met a reactor he liked, despited his profession that he is not prejudiced against nuclear power in principle. Are Lymans concerns about nuclear safety sound? Or is Lyman trying to lead us off the deep end? Is Lyman trying to convince us that a safe reactor is not possible?

Nuclear safety and George Monbiot

Nuclear safety and George Monbiot

from The Nuclear Green Revolution

Blue Flashing Light Seen Over Fukushima Plant

New Images Reveal Nuclear Fuel Rack Exposed to Air

New Images Reveal Nuclear Fuel Rack Exposed to Air

Seven Double Standards by George Monbiot

Seven Double Standards

Why don’t we judge other forms of energy generation by the standards we apply to nuclear power?

By George Monbiot. Published on the Guardian’s website, 31st March 2011
The accusations have been so lurid that I had to read my article again to reassure myself that I hadn’t written the things that so many of my correspondents say I had. So, before I begin the counter-attack, here’s what I didn’t say about nuclear power.
I did not claim that there is no alternative to atomic energy, or any such thing. Nor did I suggest that it should replace renewables, or produce any higher proportion of our electricity than it does already. But I did point out that most of the countries that might abandon nuclear power are likely to replace it not with renewables but with fossil fuel, and that this is a major change for the worse. Mark Lynas has shown how phasing out planned nuclear programmes in a number of countries as a result of the Fukushima disaster could add another degree to global warming. Chris Goodall estimates that if the planned construction of new nuclear power stations in the UK stalls in response to the crisis, the result will be an increase of 9 million tonnes of carbon dioxide for every year we delay.
Replacing current nuclear generation when the power stations reach the end of their lives is a tough decision. So is not replacing it.
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New report picks apart George Monbiot's support for nuclear power

New report picks apart George Monbiot's support for nuclear power

by Paul Mobbs
New report picks apart George Monbiot's support for nuclear power and finds significant factual and analytical errors in his claims
Writer and researcher Paul Mobbs claims that:
The concentration on either the nuclear or carbon issue in isolation detracts from a more meaningful and balanced debate about the impacts of the human system in general.
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MOX Battle: Mixed Oxide Nuclear Fuel Raises Safety Questions

MOX Battle: Mixed Oxide Nuclear Fuel Raises Safety Questions

One of the troubled Fukushima Daiichi reactors contains a blend of uranium and plutonium fuel that may soon find use in the U.S. Does it pose more risks than standard uranium fuel?

Friday, April 1, 2011

After Fukushima, The 'Nuclear People' Emerge

After Fukushima, The 'Nuclear People' Emerge

Anthropologist Hugh Gusterson, author of People of the Bomb: Portraits of America's Nuclear Complex, says that before Fukushima, most nuclear engineers ...
NPR

Fukushima reactor status news for 2011 04 01

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Accident (1 April 2011, 14.30 UTC)

IAEA Briefing on Fukushima Accident (1 April 2011, 14.30 UTC)

Presentations:
Fukushima - Background Information on Operational Intervention Levels, 1 April 2011
Fukushima Marine Environment Monitoring , 1 April 2011
Radiological Monitoring and Consequences of the Fukushima Nuclear Accident , 1 April 2011
Summary of Reactor Status , 1 April 2011
On Friday, 1 April 2011, the IAEA provided the following information on the current status of nuclear safety in Japan.
1.Current Situation
Overall at the Fukushima Daiichi plant, the situation remains very serious.
The Unit 1 condenser is full. In preparation for transferring water in the basement of the turbine building to the condenser, water in the condenser storage tank is being transferred to the suppression pool surge tank since 31 March, 03:00 UTC. Water in the trench was transferred to a water tank at the central environmental facility process main building. In order to prepare for removal of the water from the turbine building basement in Unit 2, pumping of water from the condenser to the suppression pool water surge tank started at 07:45 UTC 29 March. For Unit 3 pumping of water from the condenser to suppression pool water surge tank was started at 08:40 UTC March 28 and was completed at 23:37 UTC on 30 March.
For Unit 1 fresh water has been continuously injected into the Reactor Pressure Vessel (RPV) through the feed-water line at an indicated flow rate of 8 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with diesel backup. In Unit 2 fresh water is injected continuously through the fire extinguisher line at an indicated rate of 8 m3/h using a temporary electric pump with diesel backup. In Unit 3 fresh water is being injected continuously at about 7 m3/h into the reactor core through the fire extinguisher line using a temporary electric pump with diesel backup.
The indicated temperatures at the feed water nozzle of the RPV and bottom of RPV on Unit 1 are stable at 256 °C and 128 °C respectively. There is a slight decrease in RPV and Drywell pressures. The indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV of Unit 2 is stable at 165 °C. The temperature at the bottom of the RPV was not reported. Indicated Drywell pressure remains at atmospheric pressure. The indicated temperature at the feed water nozzle of the RPV in Unit 3 is stable at 101 °C and at the bottom of RPV is also stable at 112 °C. Indicated Drywell pressure remains slightly above atmospheric pressure. The validity of the RPV temperature measurement at the feed water nozzle is still under investigation.
The pumping of water into the Unit 1 Spent Fuel Pool by concrete pumping truck was started at 04:03 UTC on 31 March. Fresh water was sprayed to the spent fuel pool at the Unit 3 by the concrete pump on 31 March and to the spent fuel pool on Unit 4 on the 1st April.
Units 5 and 6 remain in cold shutdown
2. Radiation Monitoring
On 31 March, deposition of iodine-131 was detected by the Japanese authorities in 8 prefectures, and deposition of cesium-137 in 10 prefectures. In these prefectures where deposition of iodine-131 was reported, on 31 March, the range was from 29 to 1350 becquerel per square metre. For caesium-137, the range was from 3.6 to 505 becquerel per square metre. In the Shinjyuku district of Tokyo, the daily deposition for iodine-131 was 50 becquerel per square metre and for cesium-137 it was 68 becquerel per square metre. No significant changes were reported in the 45 prefectures in gamma dose rates compared to yesterday. As of 28 March, recommendations for restrictions on drinking water are in place at two locations in the Fukushima prefecture and restrictions continue to apply for infants only. The IAEA monitoring team made additional measurements at 9 locations West of Fukushima-Daiichi NPP. The measurement locations were at distances of 30 to 58 km from the Fukushima nuclear power plant. The dose rates ranged from 0.4 to 2.3 microsievert per hour. At the same locations, results of beta-gamma contamination measurements ranged from 0.01 to 0.49 Megabecquerel per square metre. The other team who had made monitoring measurements in Tokyo during the last week, has finished its activities.
Since our written briefing of yesterday, significant data related to food contamination was reported on 31 March by the Japanese Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare. Reported analytical results covered 2 samples taken on 15 March and 109 samples from 27-31 March. Analytical results for 98 of the 111 samples for various vegetables, spinach and other leafy vegetables, fruit (strawberry), seafood, various meats (beef, chicken and pork) and unprocessed raw milk in eight prefectures (Chiba, Fukushima, Gunma, Ibaraki, Kanagawa, Niigata, Tochigi, and Tokyo), indicated that iodine-131, caesium-134 and caesium-137 were either not detected or were below the regulation values set by the Japanese authorities. However, it was reported that analytical results in Chiba, Fukushima, Ibaraki and Tochigi prefectures for the remaining 13 of the total 111 samples for spinach and other leafy vegetables, parsley and beef indicated that iodine-131 and/or caesium-134 and caesium-137 exceeded the regulation values set by the Japanese authorities.
The following restrictions are in place (Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare Press Releases 21 and 23 March 2011):
Fukushima: Distribution and consumption of leafy vegetables (including broccoli, cabbage, cauliflower, kakina, komatsuna and spinach), turnip and unprocessed raw milk. Ibaraki: Distribution of spinach, kakina, parsley and unprocessed raw milk.
Gunma: Distribution of spinach and kakina.
Tochigi: Distribution of spinach and kakina.
The Joint FAO/IAEA Food Safety Assessment Team has completed its mission and presented its report to the Japanese Cabinet Office, Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Ministry of Health, Labour and Welfare and the Ministry of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry on 31 March. The IAEA members of the Team are returning to Vienna today.
The Agency, in agreement with the Japanese government, will dispatch two reactor experts to Japan. They will hold meetings with the Nuclear Safety Commission, NISA, TEPCO and other Japanese counterparts from Monday 4 April onwards. The objective of this visit is to exchange views with Japanese technical experts and to get first-hand information about the current status of reactors at Fukushima Daiichi, measures being taken and future plans to mitigate the accident.
The following countries have provided the monitoring data to the IAEA�s Incident and Emergency Centre � Belgium, Bulgaria, Canada, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malaysia, Russian Federation, Spain, Switzerland and Singapore.

THE NUCLEAR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK World Nuclear Review – week ending 1st April 2011

THE NUCLEAR COMMUNICATIONS NETWORK
World Nuclear Review – week ending 1st April 2011 / WNR N°13/11

Details Released On Exposure Of Fukushima Staff

1 Apr (NucNet): From a combined total of 996 staff working at the Fukushima-Daini and Fukushima-Daiichi nuclear power plants in Japan, 21 have been exposed to radiation doses higher than 100 millisieverts (mSv) and none have been exposed to more than 200 mSv, plant operator Tokyo Electric Power Company (Tepco) has said.

Tepco said 370 staff were working at the Daiichi plant, where authorities have been trying to cool reactors and spent nuclear fuel since an earthquake and tsunami struck on 11 March 2011. Fifty-one of the staff were contractors and the rest employed by Tepco.

At Fukushima-Daini, which was less affected by the quake and tsunami, and where all four units shut down safely, there were 626 staff at the plant. Sixty-four were contractors and 562 worked for Tepco.

Tepco did not say if it had included emergency services staff in its figures.

The annual dose limit for controlled nuclear workers or medical personnel is 20 mSv per year, but can reach 50 mSv in an exceptional year when the five-year average is not higher than 20 mSv per year, according to recommendations by the International Commission on Radiological Protection (ICRP).

In a declared emergency, the recommended limit under Japanese regulations is 100 mSv. The ICRP backs these regulations, but could sanction a maximum accumulated dose of 250 mSv in extraordinary situations.

In most countries, the natural background radiation level is about 2 to 4 mSv a year.

Meanwhile, dose rate levels continue to decrease slowly on the site and at the site boundary with outdoor air samples showing it is safe for staff to breathe onsite air, although protection is still needed inside contaminated buildings.

The Japan Atomic Industrial Forum (JAIF) said today that radiation levels were 910 microsieverts per hour (microSv/hr) at the south side of the plant’s main office building, 144 microSv/hr at the main gate, and 65 microSv/hr at the west gate. These readings were taken at 15:00 Japan time (08:00 central European time) on 1 April 2011.

Dose rates were highest on 17 March, showing 4,175 microSv/hr near the main office building, 647 microSv/hr at the main gate, and 313 microSv/hr at the west gate.

Spraying with fresh water has begun of the spent fuel pool (SFP) at unit 1 of the plant and continues at the SFPs of units 1-4.

Tepco said it has been using water from a barge lent by the US military. The barge has been anchored at a pier at the plant.

Yesterday Tepco said it is planning to spray resin, a synthetic chemical, over debris at the plant in an effort to fix radioactive materials and avoid the spread of contamination.

JAIF said Tepco is hoping the adhesive resin will prevent radioactive dust from being carried away by wind and rain.

Work is continuing to remove contaminated water from the basement of the turbine halls at units 1, 2 and 3 by pumping spilled water into the condenser. Preparations have begun to carry out similar work at unit 4, according to Tepco. The delay in removing the contaminated water is hampering work to cool down and stabilise the plant.

Japan’s Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA) has ordered Tepco to solve the problem of heavily contaminated water that has leaked into trenches outside the controlled zones of units 1 to 3. Work is continuing to transfer water from the trenches to a storage tank and prevent it from flowing into the sea.

Dan Yurman 
Mobile: 208-521-5726 

Japan Considers Chernobyl Solution at Fukushima

Japan Considers Chernobyl Solution at Fukushima

Written by Peter Kent   
Friday, 01 April 2011 10:18
Japan orders concrete pump to handle Chernobyl situation.
The Fukushima nuclear power plant that began a meltdown after last month’s earthquake has not been stabilized and officials have ordered the world’s largest concrete pump be brought as a type of "Chernobyl solution" to the problem in Japan. The concrete pump is currently located in the United States in Georgia but is being moved to Japan because of the emergency situation there. The pump is enormous at 190,000 pounds and is made in Germany by Putzmeister. The concrete pump has a 70 meter boom that can be remote controlled which is a major plus when dealing with failed nuclear reactors and the radioactive environment.

Pass the Plutonium By William Tucker

Pass the Plutonium

By

First clear pictures show the true devastation at the Fukushima nuclear plant as Japan flies unmanned drone over stricken reactor http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-1372589/First-clear-pictures-true-devastation-Fukushima-nuclear-plant-Japan-flies-unmanned-drone-stricken-reactor.html#ixzz1IKIewBv5

First clear pictures show the true devastation at the Fukushima nuclear plant as Japan flies unmanned drone over stricken reactor