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Climate Change Nuclear

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:

No technology is completely safe, and we don’t wish to argue that nuclear power is any different. But its dangers must be weighed against the costs of continuing to operate fossil fuel plants. Just down the road from us is Didcot A power station, a large coal-burning plant with poor pollution control and therefore with substantial effects on local air quality, as well as more substantial emissions of radiation than from any UK nuclear power station and a Co2 output of about 8 million tonnes a year. We offer a view that Didcot has caused far more deaths from respiratory diseases than all the deaths ever associated with nuclear energy in the UK, and that coal power is a far more legitimate target of environmental protest than nuclear.

4. Are our fears about nuclear power irrational? Today the Sydney Morning Herald published four different and interesting perspectives. I agree with three of them! One was written by Ben Heard, who recently wrote Think climate when judging nuclear power for BNC. Below is his piece — click on this link for the other perspectives.

Until recently I was a vocal opponent of nuclear power. Understanding the scale of the climate crisis led me – reluctantly, I’ll admit – to investigate nuclear power as a solution. To my surprise, I found my fears of nuclear power were overwhelmingly irrational.

I had three main concerns. First, that nuclear power is not safe. The Energy Related Severe Accident Database set that straight. In the past 40 years, the energy chain for coal killed more than 32,000 people worldwide in severe accidents, more than 2000 of them in OECD nations. The comparative figures for nuclear? Zero in the OECD, and 43 worldwide. This includes cancer deaths from Chernobyl, a reactor with no containment building, a horrible and unique design flaw.

Meanwhile, 440 reactors provide 15 per cent of global electricity, including to the world’s 16 largest economies (leaving out Australia at number 13). A tsunami hitting 40-year-old reactors has caused injuries and major issues, but not one fatality.

Nuclear power is more than safe enough, and getting safer all the time.

Second, I feared high-level nuclear waste was impossible to manage safely. Cutting a long story short, it isn’t. It’s predictable to the point of being boring: cool, encase, contain, contain again, and monitor. And the coming generation of nuclear technology will consume it as fuel. Cross that from my list.

Third, I feared proliferation. While nuclear power and weapons programs were once joined at the hip, this is no longer true. Twenty-one nations deploy nuclear power with no weapons capability. If it’s a weapon you want, there is no slower, more expensive way of creating substandard material than by using a nuclear power plant. Nuclear power is not a threat to peace.

So my concerns were not rational. But they were understandable, given we are fed a diet of fear by opponents of nuclear power, mainly comprising selective facts that have been stripped of meaningful context. This finds fertile ground among well-meaning people who trust the sources.

Rationally, we should all fear climate change. It threatens our occupation of this planet within a century. This, rather than nuclear power, is what keeps me awake at night.

The biggest contributor to climate change is coal. Renewables alone cannot displace coal quickly enough. But nuclear power plus renewables can, with minuscule risk. The only rational response is to be open to the further deployment of nuclear power, in partnership with growth in renewables.

5. Finally, something interesting from a purely climate change perspective — Friends become enemies as a scientist expected to cast doubt on global warming trends does the exact opposite! I always like to see good science in action…

——————————–

Trend of Radiation in the Environment around Fukushima Daiichi NPS (from JAIF):

Below is the latest FEPC update:

  • Radiation Levels
    • On March 31, TEPCO announced that radioactive nuclides were detected from the groundwater sampled around the turbine buildings of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Station on March 30. The results of the analysis are as follows:
Nuclides 

(half-life)

Concentration (Unit : Bq/cm3)
Unit 1 Unit 2 Unit 3 Unit 5 Unit 6
I-131 

(8 days)

4.3 x 102 8.0 x 101 2.2 x 101 1.6 x 100 2.0 x 101
I-132 

(2 hours)

8.3 x 100 UDL 1.3 x 101 UDL 5.8 x 10-1
Cs-134 

(2 years)

5.2 x 100 7.0 x 10-1 1.0 x 101 2.5 x 10-1 4.7 x 100
Cs-136 

(13 days)

3.9 x 10-1 6.5 x 10-2 9.4 x 10-1 2.7 x 10-2 3.9 x 10-1
Cs-137 

(30 years)

5.9 x 100 6.3 x 10-1 1.0 x 101 2.7 x 10-1 4.9 x 100

UDL: under the detection limit

  • At 7:00PM (JST) on April 1, radiation level at main gate (approximately 3,281 feet from Unit 2 reactor building) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 141 micro Sv/hour.
  • At 7:00PM on April 1, radiation level at west gate (approximately 3,609 feet from Unit 2 reactor building) of Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station: 90.0 micro Sv/hour.
  • Measurement results of environmental radioactivity level around Fukushima Nuclear Power Station announced at 7:00PM on April 1 are shown in the attached PDF file. English version is available at:    http://www.mext.go.jp/english/radioactivity_level/detail/1304082.htm
  • For comparison, a human receives 2,400 micro Sv per year from natural radiation in the form of sunlight, radon, and other sources. One chest CT scan generates 6,900 micro Sv per scan.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 1 reactor
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.295MPa.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, water level inside the reactor core: 1.65 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.165MPaabs.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, the temperature of the reactor vessel measured at the water supply nozzle: 479.5 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • As of 3:30PM on April 1, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, preparation to recover and transfer the accumulated water at the turbine building continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, approximately 90 tons of water in total has been injected into the spent fuel storage pool.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 2 reactor
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 122 degrees Fahrenheit.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, pressure inside the reactor core: -0.007MPa.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, water level inside the reactor core: 1.5 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 10:00AM on April 1, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.11MPaabs.
    • As of 3:30PM on April 1, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, preparation to recover and transfer the accumulated water at the turbine building continues.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 3 reactor
    • At 4:30PM on March 31, TEPCO began to shoot freshwater aimed at the spent fuel pool, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete, until 7:33PM (approximately 105 tons in total).
    • At 11:45AM on April 1, pressure inside the reactor core: 0.016MPa.
    • At 11:45AM on April 1, water level inside the reactor core: 1.9 meters below the top of the fuel rods.
    • At 11:45AM on April 1, pressure inside the primary containment vessel: 0.1068MPaabs.
    • As of 3:30PM on April 1, the injection of freshwater into the reactor core continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, preparation to recover and transfer the accumulated water at the turbine building continues.
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, approximately 4,802 tons of water in total has been shot into the spent fuel storage pool.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor
    • At 8:28AM on April 1, TEPCO began to shoot freshwater aimed at the spent fuel pool, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete, until 2:14PM (approximately 180 tons in total).
    • As of 7:00PM on April 1, approximately 1,278 tons of water in total has been shot into the spent fuel storage pool.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 5 reactor
    • At 2:00PM on April 1, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 100.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Unit 6 reactor
    • At 2:00PM on April 1, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 69.8 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Fukushima Daiichi Common Spent Fuel Pool
    • At 7:30AM on April 1, the temperature of the spent fuel pool: 89.6 degrees Fahrenheit.
  • Others
    • At 3:42PM on March 31, a US Military barge carrying freshwater docked at the dedicated port at Fukushima Daiichi Nuclear Power Station, towed by a vessel of Marine Self Defense Forces.
    • At 3:00PM on April 1, anti-scattering agent was dispersed on a trial basis around the Fukushima Daiichi Common Spent Fuel Pool.
    • At 3:58PM on April 1, transferring the freshwater from the US Military barge to a filtrate tank commenced.

Our official sources are:

  • Office of The Prime Minister of Japan
  • Nuclear and Industrial Safety Agency (NISA)
  • Tokyo Electric Power Company (TEPCO) Press Releases
  • Ministry of Education, Culture, Sports, Science and Technology (MEXT)

By Barry Brook

Barry Brook is an ARC Laureate Fellow and Chair of Environmental Sustainability at the University of Tasmania. He researches global change, ecology and energy.

178 replies on “Some other perspectives on Fukushima”

Bill – I’d like to know if you personally have taken the trouble to analyze the global mean temperature vs the sum of greenhouse gas radiative forcings, taking into consideration ocean heat uptake. There is after all 130 years of information on global mean temperature and greenhouse gas concentrations and 55 years of ocean heat uptake data.

With this data, you can estimate the ECS equilibrium climate sensitivity, ” the equilibrium annual global mean temperature response to a (sustained) doubling of equivalent atmospheric CO2 from pre-industrial levels”

I have done this and get an ECS of 1.3C, compared to the IPCC mid-range value of 3C.

BTW, this method relies on nature to get all the feedbacks etc correct, in that the observed temperature response fully accounts for all these.

Maybe what you think you know by relying on other people’s thinking and efforts is not correct.

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Bill,
I agree that electricity – as gasoline – is expensive in Germany and yet it did’nt reduce German economy throughput – or may be it did, but even so german economy could overcome that. That is a german merit, of course.
What is difficult to accept for me is the obligation to have 20% renewables in 2020. That, I can not understand unless to create a irrational market for renewable equipment, because 20% of renewable power can not be produced in a power system without very expensive means to deal with intermittency, I mean storage and gas-fired backup. Of course german politics are not to blame for the very stupid position of the portuguese government who offered to have 30% of renewable power in 2020 – which means more than 60% of electric power from renewables, leaving no space for nuclear, which is much more affordable – as French electricity prices prove.

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It’s not hard to fathom the spectacular uptake of renewables in Germany in the light of subsidies on offer. They are ‘too good to refuse’. An analogous example in Australia is the ill fated home insulation scheme http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Energy_Efficient_Homes_Package
Before things started to go wrong (ceiling fires, electrocutions) everyone thought the new jobs were marvellous. Never mind that the cost of CO2 avoided was probably over $200 per tonne.

Like all good things it didn’t last. Thus I fear the Germans are wrongly extrapolating the short term uptick from renewables subsidies but not the long term problems. They say they can get from 17% renewables now to 47% by 2020 with zero NP. That’s at least 3% a year arithmetic growth so if it’s not 20% or better a year from now that claim will look suspect.

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[DELETED. Violates “citing literature” commenting rule – see below.]

CITING LITERATURE AND OTHER SOURCES — appropriate and interesting citations and links within comments are welcomed, but please DO NOT cite material that you have not yourself read, digested and understood. As a general rule, please introduce any and every link or reference with a short description of the material, your judgement on its quality, and the specific reason you are including it (i.e. how it is relevant to the discussion).

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@Harvey
That’s hardly silly.
Little girls are silly, it’s part of their charme.

This permanently scraps FOX off the list of even halfway reliable news providers.
And it gives any of us reason to double check any ‘facts’ American news, or other sources, provide.
I’m surpised the American press didn’t fight this, having a reputation to uphold.
[ad hom.deleted. Personal speculation of other’s motives deleted.]

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@gallopingcamel, on 4 April 2011 at 3:34 AM said:

We are men without a news channel :-)

If you now google “Fukushima blue lights” you will find pages, with many making fun of the story. It would be tough now to walk back.

Shortly after I saw the blue light report I did the same google, looking for a primary source, and turned up only one relevant reference:

http://answers.yahoo.com/question/index?qid=20110328032916AAmDO9q

That references this image:

http://tagosakuga.blog79.fc2.com/blog-entry-50.html

You may need to give it a minute to load. As near as I can tell, that is the basis of the Fox story.

I may have previously linked to that reference and image but can’t recall now. Just wanted to make sure that tidbit was on the plate here.

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Pictures of the control rooms do not seem to indicate any working instrumentation. Can somebody tell me how has TEPCO provided the reactor pressure and temperature and well radiation data?

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@ a bored cynic:

Your post belongs on either the philosophy thread, or possibly even in the non-Fukushima open thread. Please do repost it on one of those so your nonsense can be subjected to the treatment it deserves.
MODERATOR
I advised he re-post on Sceptics thread.

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Has anyone got time to *very politely* wander across to TOD ANZ and *very calmly* and rationally read through this collection of papers and explain that the Japanese Nukes were old nukes and that the world has no other choice?

(These are blog-friends of mine from way back, please be kind no matter how provoked. I’m just too busy over the next week to do this.)

http://todanz.blogspot.com/2011/04/asia-north-south-nuclear-climate-energy.html

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@All regular posters
People, i hope this is just me, but there doesn’t seem to be any real developement in this discussion, or most of the others for that matter. The arguments mostly remain the same. It seems to be more ‘holding the fort’ than going anywhere.

I was more or less hoping that would be different. There is quite some understanding here and all respect for that, but what was there in ignorence a week ago is still there. The approaches don’t really change. It makes me wonder what you aim to archieve with commenting on this post.

Serious, i would like to know.
MODERATOR
Parrot – this comment and the next few have wandered off into the realms of philosophy. Please transfer to the Philosophical Open Thread and re-post your latest comments there. Thank you.

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Barry Brook, on 3 April 2011 at 6:16 PM said:

Chris Warren, before you draw any strong conclusions about PV, you should read these two articles from Gene Preston:

Nice poetic concepts but no risk analysis. I am not a advocate for pure-PV solutions.

Maybe in the technical OT you could estimate the LERF damage from a community nuke facility if hit by flood water such as cascaded down the Lockyer and Bremer Valleys. Then this should be compared to the same flood hitting a baseload renewable – picking one at random eg:

http://www.fao.org/docrep/t0512e/t0512e07.htm

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@Shelby :
” It is the fact that after 50 years we still haven’t devised a working and fully funded method of dealing with the nuclear waste. ”

I suggest you have a closer look to the facts :
a) PUREX is a proven and reliable industrial process with predictable costs.
b) enclosure of high level waste into borosilicate glass is also a proven and reliable industrial process with predictable costs.
c) resistance of borosilicate glass to leaching in the environment for the required duration (100,000 years) has been quantified with extremely substantial safety margins. If there is still a problem with it (and I strongly doubt it), the lead time to solve the problem is several centuries. I am comfortable with that : CO2 and fossil resource depletion are much more urgent and sensitive matters.

I would add that IFR and pyroprocessing of fuel, who seems better from a waste standpoint, are not yet proven and reliable industrial processes, but it is because we didn’t even try ! In the unlikely outcome that it doesn’t work , sodium-cooled fast reactor based on plutonium oxides is a proven technology.

There are technical problems with nuclear energy, but they are not with the waste. The only problem with the waste is political.

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I agree with Charles Monneron, the problem with the waste is political, not technical. Google ‘Oklo’ if this is in doubt. In Scandinavia, local people were involved in the planning for a repository in the early stages, and enjoyed great success.

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There are many concepts and technologies for waste processing.

But until the plan is agreed on, funded, and built, it does not yet exist.

I don’t believe new reactors can go forward until then.

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@Bill
you say “Sounds very unlikely to me. Germany has a huge trade surplus. i.e. it exports much more than it imports. Main export goods are: cars, machinery, chemicals, metals and manufactures…. That is energy intensive stuff…”

There are two phenomenons at work here :
First, industrial rates for electricity have not followed consumer rate ; right now, it is mostly the consumer that pays for the renewables (see http://www.energy.eu/ ). The BASF complex in Ludwigshafen consumes as much electricity than Denmark. I wonder what would be its profitability with a doubled electricity price.

Second, there is the magic of global supply chain and favorable terms of trade : buy the energy/pollution intensive components abroad for cheap and sell the value-added finished product for an expensive price. Mine the rare earth in China, the aluminum in Hungary ( http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Ajka_alumina_plant_accident ) the Natural Gas in Russia and make the wind turbine in Germany…

It works only as long as the rest of the world wants to buy the German expensive stuff (At some point, people may catch up with the fact that the superiority of German cars over, say, Korean cars is mostly branding).
Even if the competitive advantage is durable, by definition, it cannot be a model to the rest of the world.

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Charles Monneron, on 4 April 2011 at 10:37 AM said:

@Shelby

PUREX and borosilicate glass enclosing are not concepts, but something that has been performed on an industrial scale for more than a decade in La Hague. http://www.cogemalahague.com/

—-

You’re taking part of what I said out of context to make a rhetorical argument.

It must be agreed on, funded, and built, before it exists. (here)
MODERATOR
Off-topic – please move to Fukushima OT. Off-topic comments may be deleted.

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@ Shelby

There are many concepts and technologies for waste processing.

But until the plan is agreed on, funded, and built, it does not yet exist.

I don’t believe new reactors can go forward until then.

This is simply a case of stalling viable technologies in the face of a rapidly changing climate.

By your logic we should also stall on renewable technologies because there is no existing example of renewables replacing a fossil fuel plant (hydro aside). This would leave us with no alternative energy technologies.

Furthermore (and anyone please feel free to correct me on this), I believe every part and process of the Integral Fast Reactor has been demonstrated, just not as a single functioning unit. It’s not just some pie in the sky idea, the fuel recycling/waste elimination can be done.
MODERATOR
Off-topic. Please move over to Technical Open Thread.

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MODERATOR
Several people here are straying off-topic. Please note that as per BNC Commenting Policy off-topic comments may be deleted. We do not have the facility to move comments so you will be asked to re-post in the correct thread.
Please ensure you comment is in the correct thread and not automatically in the current thread, which may render the thread unreadable. A reminder of where to post comments:
TECHNICAL OPEN THREAD
Please restrict all discussion here to technical information, analysis, criticisms and questions on FD — no philosophising or excursions into whether nuclear power is ‘good’ or ‘bad’ or the implications of FD for the future of nuclear power (except for new technical developments, e.g. safety standards), etc. You may impart your deep wisdom on how the world should work on the Philosophical Open Thread.

PHILOSOPHICAL OPEN THREAD
Please keep all dialogue here to general and philosophical discussions on nuclear power, its benefits and limitations, its alternatives, history, media treatment of the FD accident, your views on how the world should work and why people should listen to you, etc., etc. Nothing technical please — leave that for the Technical Open Thread.

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As the thread is about other perspectives on the Fukushima nuclear crisis, I feel this belong here.

WE’LL call him the Unnamed Farmer: last week he became the first person to die as a result of damage to the nuclear plant at Fukushima.
The 64-year-old from Sukagama, 65km from the reactor, hanged himself because his crops could no longer be sold.

http://www.theaustralian.com.au/news/world/nuclear-scaremongers-inflate-risks/story-e6frg6so-1226032889919
I strongly concur with the sentiments expressed in this article. The psychological damage wrought on the local folk, by sensational reporting, is likely to be immense and lasting, just as with other nuclear incidents in the past.

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The Japanese Government must learn one vital lesson from Chernobyl:

Don’t let scare stories about radiation take hold

The UN report on Chernobyl was very clear that radiation problems were trivial compared to the attitudes of fatalism and hopelessness that took root in the population. It is vital that the radiation effects are kept in perspective, that moderate responses are not allowed to escalate in a game of “think of the children”, and that people are well-informed that the chances of health problems really are negligible. Again, and again, and again, if need be.

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And look at that – just as I was typing, that sad story comes in from Ms Perps. A casualty, not of the nuclear accident, but of the scare stories that people tell and believe.

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Forensics article mentioned a few days ago nhas been revised and updated at the NYT with more specifics than given previously:

For the Stanford slides discussed there but not linked, you can google for them this way:
site:stanford.edu braun areva fukushima slides

NYT story link:

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harvey,
I did not accuse Fox News of lying. Fox is publishing hearsay as if it was well corroborated information. They are destroying the public’s trust in them without breaking any laws.

All news media (and particularly the “Grey Lady”) publish untruths frequently. In the rush to “scoop” the competition it is inevitable that some early reports will be proved wrong. The media lose public trust when they are unable or unwilling to correct their mistakes.

NR99,
I suspect we are criticising Fox “more in sorrow than in anger”. While few people trust the “Main Stream Media” today it seems we can’t trust the alternative media either. Maybe that is why I am spending more and more time on Brave New Climate.

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Joffan,
That story about the farmer who committed suicide shows that all we have to fear is fear itself. Where are leaders like FDR when you need them?

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This is a good way to explain to the average person what a dangerous dose of radiation might be:

The Guardian’s science correspondent puts the point this way: “You can think of it like exposure to the sun’s rays. I could move somewhere and get twice as much sunshine in a year, but if I received all that sun in one hour, I would be toast. Because one hour in very intense sunlight will do me more harm than the same amount of sunlight evened out over the year.”

from this article in the Guardian newspaper:

http://www.guardian.co.uk/commentisfree/2011/apr/04/open-door-explaining-fukushima-crisis

The article goes on to explain the scientific complexity
around radiation and attempts to de-bunk some of the myths.
It also links to this easily understandable Science Media of Canada briefing for journalists. If only they would read it ;-)

http://www.sciencemediacentre.ca/smc/index.php?option=com_content&view=article&id=167%3Aradiation&catid=1%3Alatest-news&Itemid=49&lang=en

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@Charles Moneron:

Germany does not get it’s aluminium from Hungary… Check the statistics about aluminium production worldwide:

Click to access mcs-2010-alumi.pdf

And how could we not import rare earths from China and natural gas from Russia? Germany has neiter gas nor petrol reserves and rare earths are also extremely rare here…

And the question of whether BASF remains compatible does not depend on energy prices alone. It also depends on technological advantages in energy saving and productivity advantages.

And what is the problem in making the consumer pay for installation of renewables? Why should other countries not follow this path?

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> Cyril R

Where in the world did you get those numbers for the total dose rates in the highest affected areas?

I am here now living 75 miles from this nuclear mess and have been watching closely the levels from various monitoring locations daily.

[deleted unsubstantiated figures. Please re-post with references to support your figures]Would you feel comfortable living in area that receives an Xray every hour? For how long?

This is expected to go on for months.

[deleted attacks on what ‘this blog’ does]

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>Huw Jones

And just when will these radiation levels decline back to background level?

[deleted unsustantiated figures. Please re-post with references to support your comment.]Are you aware that the situation is no closer to any change for the better than 1 week ago?
Are you aware that it is very possible to get worse?

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Please provide us with some evidence that that the dose rate is 50-100 microSieverts per hour outside the exclusion zone.

The jaif report on monitoring shows the highest is around 8 microSieverts per hour. A high dose, but there are parts of the world with higher background levels than that.

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OH, & that link that Cyril R just posted about the radiation trends?
That is terrible information that is not true!

Although many surrounding areas far outside of the nuclear mess have been falling daily since the original explosion,(except they are rising in areas of Western Japan) the peak numbers and averages are not at all right!
I have been watching them several times daily for 3 weeks now.

[deleted unsubstantiated figure. BNC is a science based blog therefore official references supporting your comments are requie. Unsupported hearsay is deleted]

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OK.
Have a look:
http://eq.wide.ad.jp/index_en.html

check the Fukushima PDF for today.
You will not be able to see the past record data for some areas, some do. Also some areas have been blacked out since the beginning.
MODERATOR
Your link does not appear to support your assertions re the radiation levels in Japan.
Please point to readings in the charts that do support your figures.

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Regarding bRIVERb’s question, from what I’ve read I would not be worried about living in 27 millisievert/year field. Ramsar, Iran is up to 260 millisievert/year background level, doesn’t seem to have any effect, from literature 100 millisievert/year is minimum for observed increase in cancer. From what I have read, there is one thing I might do and that is to take iodine pills for a month just to be sure.

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@ bRIVERb,

The link you provided shows radiation levels often far lower than my link except for a few locations right in the middle of the fallout plume that are on the border of the 20 km exclusion zone, peak 57 microsievert per hour. Definately a higher level but not dangerous to your health. In order to get one 6900 microsievert CT scan you’d have to stay there, outside, for over 120 hours in that peak radiation. In order to get to the worker limit of 250000 microsievert, which is still lowe than background in Ramsar, Iran by the way, you’d need to spend half a year outside right in that peak flux, assuming it stays that high!

Click to access 110315houshasen_mext_en.pdf

Latest JAIF document:

Click to access ENGNEWS01_1301880310P.pdf

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My equation was for 23 days=27mSv.
So I guess that would be about 428 mSv/year, if it were to remain the same.

Anyhow,
I appreciate your opinion. Thanks.

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There are places in Ramsar that might give a dose of 260 millisieverts/year, but the *population* of Ramsar do not spend there time in these places. The average dose for the population is about 10 millisieverts/year and the modal dose is 1-5 millisieverts/year.

http://books.google.com/books?id=VzgOHWZvJXMC
See figure 5, page 22

–bks

MODERATOR
That book, on p23/24 says dose rates for the ELNRA are up to 135 mSv/yr, and ~25% of the population are >5 mSv.

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By the way, 57 microsievert/hour is the outside dose, and you don’t spend 24/7 outside even if you’re a farmer (more like 10-50% of the time outside depending on profession)

Combined with decaying isotopes I’d estimate you wouldn’t get more than 10 millisievert/year dose. Though there may be local spikes of plant accumulation of cesium and possibly strontium that would have to be considered for cleanup (remove plants and store as low level waste) This requires a much higher resolution imaging or onsite investigation.

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Oh sorry, miscalculation, good that you mentioned that! Realistically you’re probably not looking at over 100 millisievert year actual dose (considering decay and low inside dose). But local accumulation of some fission products is of concern. Anyone has higher resolution data for the area under the fallout (northwest of Fukushima)?

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According to that data set, there are indeed one or two areas with about 57 milliSieverts per hour. It’s unclear however, if that’s a transient reading or at constant level. Most areas are pretty close to background levels though. If necessary, the areas with the highest levels could be evacuated for a few weeks while they are cleaned up.

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[edited unsubstantiated figures.]
Once again, this is not going to be cleaned up in a couple weeks!!! Several months! But yes, they need to be evacuated and the downplaying of the situation needs to stop. Young children need to leave from the greater area.

Also, there really is still the potential for a greater dispersion of radiation.

[deleted – “possibly” and “most likely” are your unsubstantiated opinions and are not good enough – where are your refs?]
#2 is leaking water at 1000 mSv/h into the Ocean. #4 has the spent fuel rods mostly exposed to air, if not totally.All of these are technically still out of control!
MODERATOR
I repeat – BNC is a science blog and you need to substantiate your opinions with links/refs supporting your contentions. Further comments without these links will be completely deleted.

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Thank for your posting bRIVERb. you seem to be one of the few people who actually are living in the area we are just talking about.

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> From what I have read, there is one thing I might
> do and that is to take iodine pills for a month
> just to be sure.

Do NOT listen to this advice. Talk to a doctor.
Taking iodine pills without need is a serious health risk.

Insist on cites to sources from people telling you what they believe. Check their sources.

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bRIVERb, what is your source for believing plutonium can become volatile and disperse into a wide area?

I am not downplaying the incident. I just don’t like exaggeration. At this point it is not likely even 1 person will die of radiation. Much more important is that all alternatives kill more in normal operation. A modern coal plant with modern particulate filter and sulphur scrubbers typically kills 10 to 20 people a year, older ones kill many more:

http://energyfromthorium.com/forum/viewtopic.php?p=38057&sid=e9e3fa4b5b59065c2bd5aa0558c5dbf9

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Hank Roberts, just to be clear, I was referring to the situation if I was in a 57 microsievert/hour field , I would consider the pills. Definately do NOT take any pills if you’re outside Japan! Not necessary in the slightest.

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> if I was in a 57 microsievert/hour field

Only if the source is radioactive _iodine_ .
Not cesium for example, which is more likely to hang around on surfaces and be detected longer.

There’s a timing issue — an iodine supplement can’t be repeated frequently; you have to rely on the government to advise you _when_

Just for perspective, here’s the dose calculator for the US counties for iodine fallout from the surface nuclear tests in the 1950s: http://www.cancer.gov/cancertopics/causes/i131/stateandcountyexposure/page2 — it depended greatly on local rain or snow bringing the material to the ground.

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MODERATOR
Please note that off-topic comments will be deleted and, as we are unable to transfer comments, you will be asked to re-post in the correct thread. In particular comments regarding your personal opinions, beliefs etc should be posted in the Fukushima Philosophical Open Thread.

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To MODERATOR

I can’t believe you deleted that post.

That was a link posted that was asked for and had no personal opinion unlike the hundred posted above.
MODERATOR
The link you supplied was generic in nature listing multiple videos (which violates BNC’s Citation policy)which people could not be expected to wade through to verify your statements. As suggested you should re-post on the correct thread which is the Philosophical Open Thread, if you are merely giving your opinion. Personal opinion, is welcome in the Open Threads, where moderation more is relaxed (except for ad homs, incivility etc.)However, although you are entitled to your own opinion, you are not entitled to your own facts – these must be supported by references.

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Here is the link of numbers from the Japanese government compiled of sources that include the Ministry of Defense, JAEA, Tepco, & the policehttp://eq.wide.ad.jp/index_en.html

As I wrote before, open the Fukushima PDF file. You will find the readings of the levels I posted in some of the monitoring points. This PDF is put out daily, therefore you will get a different one each day. I live here. I have watched them daily! The areas of concern have constantly reported numbers around 50 µSv/h daily and have at times been above 100µSv/h
[please identify the specific areas/locations of concern you mention]

This was for direct reference to the substantial opinion that plutonium could turn volatile in #4 and the link was asked for by Cyril R. Look up Arnie Gundersen, in the Fairewinds Associates and open the video about #4 called, New Images Reveal Nuclear Fuel Rack Exposed to Air.
[now you have identified the particular video in which the information is relayed, please re-submit the link]

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Newly released TEPCO data provides evidence of periodic chain reaction at Fukushima Unit 1
http://www.fairewinds.com/content/newly-released-tepco-data-provides-evidence-periodic-chain-reaction-fukushima-unit-1

Also, I had written that it is possible that plutonium could become volatile in #4
Here is the specific link asked for by Cyril R:
http://www.fairewinds.com/content/new-images-reveal-nuclear-fuel-rack-exposed-air
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Please note that your comments WILL be posted WHEN they comply with the BNC Commenting Rules. Which I supply below for you, and all on the blog, to consider before posting. Discussions on moderating decisions will not be entered into. Please desist from attacking the moderators, who are voluntarily giving a considerable amount of their time to assessing comments to ensure compliance with the BNC comments policy. This process is of course, to a certain extent, subjective.We suggest you channel your efforts into ensuring your comments meet the regulations of this blog.

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>[please identify the specific areas/locations of concern you mention]
20km NW & 30km NW Reading points.

Since I live within this nuclear mess, I have monitored it all daily. I have more links but they are in Japanese.

Here is one for Tochigi Prefecture, which I live in. If you scroll down to the middle and see the weekly dated PDF files of radiation level data in various areas of Tochigi, open them up, you will also see the levels and that this graph in the topic thread is not accurate.
http://www.pref.tochigi.lg.jp/kinkyu/houshasen.html
MODERATOR
Please supply any further refs/links in English, as is the BNC policy, or they will be deleted.

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bRIVERb, your source is from a know anti-nuclear campaigner, Arnie Gundersen, that does not cite sources for claiming ‘plutonium can become volatile’. He just speculates and gives no numbers.

Plutonium is in the form of oxides in the fuel rods, you can see this isn’t volatile:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Plutonium(IV)_oxide

Melting point 2600 degrees C. Boiling point 2800 degrees C. This isn’t going anywhere in significant quantities. You can dissolve it in water so the coolant water leaking into places is a problem for the workers but not the public.

While the chemistry of plutonium is complex,the species that form in water or otherwise complex are not volatile at all, and would require tremendous force such as extreme hot graphite fire and runaway strong positive void coefficient reactors to disperse widely. During steam relief you can get trace amounts out, but that’s it and it won’t get far (being a heavy metal).

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Why would he need sources? He is a source. “I used to be an executive in the nuclear industry and one of the divisions I ran built nuclear fuel racks for boiling water reactors.”
We are talking about these fuel racks. I he not a source?
How can you only say he is a known anti-nuclear campaigner when he has been a nuclear power engineering adviser for 39 years, a former nuclear industry senior vice president…, a licensed reactor operator…?
http://www.fairewinds.com/content/who-we-are

Your wiki-leaks link proves nothing(except that your melting point you quoted is wrong).
Where are your links proving that this scenario has no possibility of happening?
Your opinion is just speculative.

[deleted, personal opinion presented as fact. Supply references]
I never claimed that the plutonium would reach far away surrounding areas.
[deleted unsubstantiated personal opinion presented as fact]
Can anyone give any information as to how this broken pool and exposed, highly radioactive nuclear fuel rack can be handled? Any good solid sources that are not speculation?
[deleted personal opinion presented as fact]These links have already been supplied and their sources are mentioned within them.
MODERATOR
Where did you previously supply the links supporting these latest opinions on facts? Please re-submit to support your case.

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bRIVERb,
Of course you should be concerned about hazards that may detectable where you live.

However the numbers matter so you should remain calm unless the ionizing radiation reaches dangerous levels. On an earlier thread, “unclepete” gave an excellent link that should help you decide what is dangerous and what is not.
http://xkcd.com/radiation/

With regard to the toxicity of plutonium I know very little about this but still may be able to allay your fears. During World War II Botulinus toxin was weaponised in the UK. At one point the British had stocks of more than 100 gallons of this toxin, enough to provide a lethal dose for every human being then living.

However, to kill a significant number of people using toxins it is necessary to deliver the appropriate dose to each of them. This “Dispersion Problem” has proved to be a very difficult one.

I would contend that Botulinus toxin is many orders of magnitude more toxic than Plutonium and a great deal more volatile, so if you want to scare yourself, think Botulinus rather than Plutonium.

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Thank you gallopingcamel.
I am aware of the table and the relative dose levels in our ordinary lives. I recently was in the hospital and received 16 x-rays and 1 CT scan in 10 days. I have accumulated only enough radiation to get 1 Xray as of yet!
Although it may appear that I am mostly concerned with plutonium from re-posting links, I am mostly concerned of the long term continuance of cesium-137 and iodine-131 contaminating our surroundings in the air, foods & water. This nuclear mess has not improved any at all in the last week+. In fact, it is more dismal that the situation is obviously not in control yet and that it has now been estimated to continue for several months emitting radiation, possibly longer.

Here are some more links, including the original of mine, to help some simple statements, that I will re-post from my last post , concerning the problems of continued radiation along with the potential for more.

The fuel racks are not in water, the tank does not hold water and a heavy steel bridge has collapsed onto the fuel racks, perhaps damaging the protective covering/wrapping on the fuel racks.

http://www.fairewinds.com/content/new-images-reveal-nuclear-fuel-rack-exposed-air

Here is the link for the video of #4, in which you can see that the fuel racks are exposed with no visible water in the pool.
http://www.ustream.tv/recorded/13684184
The heavy steel bridge also can be seen collapsed onto the fuel racks after the explosion that blew the building apart. There is a chance that the protective covering on some of these fuel racks could have been damaged.
“According to the latest JAIF status report, Unit 4 has sustained severe damage to reactor building integrity.”
“World Nuclear News reports the damage appears to have been the result of a build-up of hydrogen in the spent fuel pond, which suggests the area around the pool itself would be most badly affected.”
“Damage to Unit 4 could potentially cause debris to fall into the spent fuel pond, distorting rack structures, which would block air flows and potentially lead to temperature increases and ignition.”
“If the temperature of the spent fuel pond increases to around 1,000˚C as a result of exposure to air, the zirconium cladding around the spent fuel might catch fire. This scenario would mean large radiation releases would severely hit workers. The fire would be extremely hard to extinguish and would risk spreading to adjoining units, causing hydrogen explosions. The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) estimates that such a fire would lead to large releases of the dangerous cesium 137 isotope, which is very radioactive. Such releases, combined with an unfortunate change in wind direction, could blow the material towards densely populated areas. To protect against this risk, the Japanese government should immediately extend the evacuation area around Fukushima Daiichi.”
http://www.engineerlive.com/Power-Engineer/Nuclear_Power/Fukushima_disaster%3A_filling_spent_fuel_ponds/23355

>plutonium
[deleted scientic personal opinion not supported by link provided.].

“Japan’s own nuclear safety agency was concerned at the plutonium samples, whose levels of radioactive decay ranged from 0.18 to 0.54 becquerels per kg.
”While it’s not the level harmful to human health, I am not optimistic. This means the containment mechanism is being breached so I think the situation is worrisome,” agency official Hidehiko Nishiyama was quoted as saying by Jiji news agency.”
http://www.zerohedge.com/article/iaea-fukushima-plutonium

Here is the link proposing that the plutonium found is from #4:
http://www.fairewinds.com/content/update-fukushima-discovery-plutonium-leakage-and-highly-radioactive-water

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Some more info on mister Gundersen:

http://atomicinsights.blogspot.com/2011/02/arnie-gundersen-has-inflated-his-resume.html?utm_source=feedburner&utm_medium=feed&utm_campaign=Feed%3A+blogspot%2FhTJJ+%28Atomic+Insights+Blog%29

Different ‘experts’ say different things:

http://www.dawn.com/2011/03/27/us-experts-unsure-about-fukushima-situation.html

Remember, even the chairman of the NRC was 100% wrong about the spent fuel ponds being completely dry. Experts can be wrong. Facts matter, facts such as plutonium dioxide melting point of 2400 degrees celcius (correction from 2600 degrees celcius). Spent fuel rods produce 1000x less heat than rods in the reactor. You cannot get high enough temperatures to vaporize considerable amounts of plutonium. The heat per cubic centimeter fuel rod is lower than a fluorescent tube light. Not quite 2400 degrees celcius. I am using a heat transfer model with high resolution cells which doesn’t get even get anywhere near half that in the extreme scenario of zero water and very poor ventilation due to debris.

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bRIVERb, on 5 April 2011 at 12:26 AM said:
“…#4 has the spent fuel rods mostly exposed to air, if not totally.All of these are technically still out of control!”

Let’s examine Gundersen’s evidence and compare it to the other evidence we have. This is an important issue because, as I understand things, if SFP#4 goes dry, it may be the worst of all reasonably foreseeable possible outcomes.

As evidence, Gundersen presents a couple of seconds of low res video images at a very poor angle of an obstructed view of the SFP.

Those few seconds of his evidence contrasts with 5 minutes of his face on the video. I think a reasonable person might conclude that Gundersen was more interested in getting his face out to the world than clearly presnting his “evidence”.

I am not a nuclear engineer but I’ve shot over 130,000 still images with high res DSLR cameras over the past 7 years. I shoot some technically very difficult subjects, both in good light and bad light. I can’t evaluate the “still image” that I saw by stopping the video during those brief few seconds. The lighting is terrible, with the interior of the SFP floor mostly dark and the resolution is terrible. I might be more convinced if I saw a high res high quality well lit 12MB still image in full resolution.

It is also unclear to me exactly what a pool of water would look like after the ceiling collapsed on it. It is likely, though, that it would not be the “clear blue water” Gundersen claims we should see and displays as an example of what he thinks we should see. It would likely have all the bouyant debris from the ceiling and other disturbed parts of the building floating on top, similar to heavy scum and algae on a pond.

Honestly, looking at that brief snip of video is no different than looking at a video of many purported Bigfoot or UFO sightings, where we see a rather blurry something in usually poor light and are left thinking… “what is it that the narrrator claims he sees so clearly?”.

Only a few days into the incident the USA’s NRC commissioner made worldwide headlines proclaiming that SFP #4 was bone dry. Interestingly, that story died a fast death. I am unaware of a single peep out of the NRC since then related to that claim. If that pool was dry near the start of the event and it is dry now, as Gundersen suggests, then I would think that news story would have long legs and the media would be playing it up. Strangely, they are not, nor has the NRC made any statements that I am aware of vindicating or confirming that initial assessment. It appears the NRC wants to let that dead dog lie.

Earlier today in this thread, Barry Brook posted the latest FEPC update:

https://bravenewclimate.com/2011/04/01/fukushima-daiichi-april-1/#comment-123231

That update says the following (edited by me to include only SFP data:

“• Fukushima Daiichi Unit 4 reactor
o At 5:14PM on April 3, TEPCO began to shoot freshwater aimed at the spent fuel pool, with a specialized vehicle normally used for pumping concrete, until 10:16PM (approximately 180 tons in total).
o At 7:20AM on April 4, the temperature of the spent fuel pool by thermography measurement: 86 degrees Fahrenheit.
o As of 7:00PM on April 4, approximately 1,473.2 tons of water in total has been shot into the spent fuel storage pool.”

TEPCO is reporting that the temperature of SFP#4 is 86F. I think I take showers in water warmer than that! I’ve scuba dived in tropical water at that temperature. That temp is a long, long way from the way greater than 1000F temps required to melt or burn the rods and cladding.

TEPCO reports 1473 tons of water have been shot at or into the pool (they say “into” but I think we all know much of the earlier attempts were only partially successful and no one can know how much actually hit the pool- I assume some language translation issues here, or general ambiguity to keep the report succinct).

Contrast that with SFP#3, which is reported at 134F and has had 4908 tons of water shot at or into it (see Barry’s same report in my link).

Now consider JAIF’s latest report:

Click to access ENGNEWS01_1302003224P.pdf

That report says that SFP#3 has 1331 fuel rods verses 514 rods in SFP #4. Even though the SFP#4 rods are “fresh” and hotter, there are only 38.6% as many fuel rods in #4.

Now the final piece to the puzzle… the 3rd page of the linked JAIF report – the sequence of events – suggests that water injection into SFP#4 started March 20, but SFP#3 was started on March 17th. I’m not going to go back in time now to verify that but I distinctly recall that when the first attempts were made to cool the SFP’s most observers here were surprised that SFP#4 was not attacked first- all in the context of the almost hysterical pronouncements of the NRC chairman.

Now, I am not claiming I know the facts. I won’t claim that there is no global conspiracy to fudge the publicly released data- I can’t because I did not prepare the data.

I will suggest that Gundersen’s claims do NOT square with any of the data ever presented on the SFP’s (where the temps were always reported below 100C/212F, but uncomfortably close in the early days). If you believe Gundersen over the reported data you are placing all your faith in two seconds of very mediocre video squeezed in beside his face during a 5 minute argument that SFP is (and presumably always has been) totally out of control.

If there is a serious problem with the SFP’s it is probably #3, simply due to the 4900 tons of water that has been shot at or into it. That is over a million gallons of water! However, given the low temperatures reported, it might be fair to assume that the fuel rods are under control but this is very possibly the source of much of the contaminated water(presumably a leak in the pool if you want to speculate along these lines). There may be multiple major leaks across the entire plant though, so I would not read much into that.

Whatever the status of SFP#3, Gundersen is not talking about it. He is only talkinga bout an SPF that appears to have maybe relatively minor leaking (compared to #3) based on all the FACTS as we know them.

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Cyril R
Your ‘different experts’ link was old.

NR99
Are you telling me that you can not see the steam coming out from below the level of the tops of the fuel rack in the ustream video?

NR99 writes:
“That report says that SFP#3 has 1331 fuel rods verses 514 rods in SFP #4. Even though the SFP#4 rods are “fresh” and hotter, there are only 38.6% as many fuel rods in #4.”

You have your numbers backwards!
Look again at your own link. http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/news_images/pdf/ENGNEWS01_1302003224P.pdf
#4 has 1331. Also it lists them as the only ones ‘possibly damaged’ and rated as ‘Severe'(Need immediate action)
Hydrogen from the #4 pool exploded on Mar. 15th. (You must take HOT showers…)
Unit 4 has sustained severe damage to reactor building integrity.

You did not address the other link I posted in which it at least says that The Nuclear Regulatory Commission (NRC) estimates the danger is there in #4 is for potential large releases of cesium 137.

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————————-
“Now consider JAIF’s latest report:

Click to access ENGNEWS01_1302003224P.pdf

That report says that SFP#3 has 1331 fuel rods verses 514 rods in SFP #4. Even though the SFP#4 rods are “fresh” and hotter, there are only 38.6% as many fuel rods in #4.”
———————–

Other way around. #4 has more rods, according to the link posted. Other than that i agree with you assesment.

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To the MODERATOR
is there some reason why my post is still awaiting moderation while others post freely?

MODERATOR
You, along with several others, are on permanent moderation, due to past violations of the BNC commenting rules.Overnight/ early morning comments are being looked at now.

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bRIVERb, on 5 April 2011 at 11:30 PM said:

The fuel racks are not in water, the tank does not hold water and a heavy steel bridge has collapsed onto the fuel racks

If you read the text that accompanies Arnie Gunderson’s video, it states clearly that the pictures are undated.

Dates and time of adding water to spent fuel pool #4.
April 5th – 5 :35 to 6:22.
April 3rd – 5:14 to 10:16
*Fresh Water barge arrives April 2nd.
April 1st – 8:28 to 2:14
March 30th – 2:04 to 6:33
March 27th – 4:34 to 7:35
March 25th – 7:05 – 10:07
March 23rd -10:00 – 1:00
March 22nd – 5:20 – 8:30

IIRC The spent fuel pools at Fukushima hold about 1500 m3 of water.
The concrete pump trunk has a maximum pumping rate of 160m3/hour.

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@abRIVERb, on 6 April 2011 at 1:00 AM

It is likely the SFP4 fuel was at least partially exposed early on, but that is old news. Gundersen’s claims, presumably are based on the here
and now, when Tepco is recording an 86F temperature on that pool.

Yes, I did make a stupid mistake and reversed the fuel rod counts. However, the actual total of 1331 assemblies in SFP4 vs 541 in SFP3 further supports my claim! If SFP4 has 2.46 times the number of rods as SFP3, how can the temperature be only 86F verses 134F in SFP3? Any why only 37% as much water sprayed into SFP3? And why was SFP #4 not the very first SFP filled with water way back when the first fire engine pumps arrived? Which pool does the data suggest has more problems?

Now, realistically, SFP4 probably contains about 541 hot fresh current fuel assemblies. The next 500-odd assemblies are likely several years old, or whenever the reactor was last refueled. The last 300-odd assemblies are likely on the order of 5 years in the tank and are likely effectively stone cold and long past ready for dry casking. Given that all the reactors have roughly a full fueling worth of spent assemblies (presumably their respective last spent fuel loads) it is unlikely that currently hot rods from other reactors were consolidated into SFP4.

In other words, the fuel rod count is somewhat of a red herring, and the important data is not that fuel rod count but the TEMPERATURE.

I have wonderful images of a local river with a similar “head of steam”. The temperature of the water was near freezing. The air temp was probably slightly below and it was near sunrise. I have seen significant “heads of steam” coming out of a spa/jacuzzi during the daytime when the water was about 100F and the air temp near freezing, as it is or was in Japan now. I’m not excited about a little steam, especially in light of the TEMPERATURE READINGS.

Now, show me dense clouds of dark smoke emanating from the pool (a la Chernobyl) and I might get excited because that would imply a fire but that is not the case.

Here is the only thing that matters: Gundersen’s thesis is totally irreconcilable with Tepco’s data. I tried to connect these dots for you but I need to complete the job.

There are only two ways to reconcile these irreconcilable views. There is little or no middle ground.

1. Tepco’s data is right and Gundersen’s thesis is wrong. He is seeing a Bigfoot in his blurry images. And remember, he has supplied no other data to back up his claim. He can’t because he is implicitly relying on….

2. A grand conspiracy between Tepco, the Japanese Gov’t and at a minimum the US Gov’t to hide the data. Tepco says the temp is 86F. Gundersen claims it is thousands of degrees.

Let’s explore what it would take to pull off this conspiracy, which is the only way that Gundersen can be correct.

Tepco’s report says the temps in SFP 3 and 4 were recorded via thermography. That means the installed temp gauges are broken and they are relying on IR imaging, presumably via aircraft overflying the reactors.

IR is very, very sensitive. There is a huge difference in IR between 86F (tepid bath water) and thousands of degrees (near or literally red hot levels). The pool is fully exposed courtesy of the missing roof. Measuring that pool temperature is not rocket science. A lot of amateur photographers could do a crude job of it with readily available modified digital cameras and IR filters. The gov’t has much better gear.

The numbers might be off by 10-20F at the low end of 86F but not much more than that. In other words, this is not a matter of bad readings or mis-calibrated gear. It takes a conspiracy of at least the 3 parties to make Gundersen’s claims work.

Conspiracy theories are popular among anti-nuclear advocates because they are required when the official facts don’t support their case. But if you are going to engage in a conspiratorial cover-up you need to have a lot of confidence you can pull it off because if you get caught with your shorts down your head will roll. Especially when it’s an egregious cover-up. And in this case we are not talking about hiding some inconvenient numbers. We are talking about materially misrepresenting those pool temperatures, which are trivial measurements if you have a helicopter and a calibrated IR camera.

And who knows who else is measuring those pools with IR? There are probably a half dozen countries with spy satellites doing those measurements. It’s all out in the open. So you need a world-wide conspiracy and not everyone with those satellites are our friends.

Do you really think they could get away with that? Some day all the facts will come out- the good, bad and the ugly.

Further, if Tepco et al is really engaged in a massive cover-up of SFP4 why did they publicize, in great detail, tens of thousands of gallons of water at 1000mSv and the fact that that water is rapidly draining into the ocean? That is arguably a greater problem at this point.

Personally I don’t believe there is any significant cover-up or hiding of material data. Mainly because so much ugly data has been released. And also because the entire world’s attention is on this event. Even the Soviets were fairly forthcoming with Chernobyl once they got caught by the Swedes and the situation was obvious to the world. You can’t hide radiation readings. Geiger counters are cheap and plentiful. Tepco is financially trashed. The motivations of the executives at this point are more along the lines of staying out of jail. They have enough on their plate without having to deal with some massive (and eventually exposed) cover-up with the world’s eyes on them. This is not a Hollywood movie.

So, bRIVERb, please don’t quibble over numbers or steam or what you think you see in that video. If you want to argue Gundersen’s thesis you have to explain the temperature data and you have to justify your belief in a world-wide conspiracy.

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It does make sense that the video of Unit #4 is old and that the situation is now better with all of the water pumped in. Thank you. Anyhow, the steam did visibly move horizontal from below the level of the tops of the fuel rack. I know this is not a good source, but that video that was posted to ustream, by a Japanese journalist, is said to have been filmed on March 24th.
http://ex-skf.blogspot.com/2011/03/fukushima-i-nuke-plant-reactor-4-video.html#comment-form
I suppose the only way to know when it was filmed for sure would be to ask the journalist who recorded it and whether or not it was from Japanese TV.

The JAIF began charting the stored spent fuel assemblies as ‘Possibly damaged’ -Severe(Need immediate action) on March 23rd.
2011-03-23 Status of nuclear power plants in Fukushima as of 16:00 March 23
http://www.jaif.or.jp/english/news_index.php
[deleted unsupported hearsay/ conspiracy theories]

As I have mentioned, I live here. I joined this blog to learn from you all. Naturally I am concerned with any possibilities that could go for the worse. The actions of Tepco have not been reassuring.

The cesium 137 is terribly worrisome for the future of our surroundings, land & sea. All business is effected as well as the culture.
“cesium-137 was 1.3 million times the amount allowable.”
“it will probably concentrate in the upper food chain.
Yamamoto said such radioactive materials are likely to be detected in fish and other marine products in Japan and other nations in the short and long run, posing a serious threat to the seafood industry in other nations as well.
“All of Japan’s sea products will probably be labeled unsafe and other nations will blame Japan if radiation is detected in their marine products,” Yamamoto said.”
http://search.japantimes.co.jp/cgi-bin/nn20110406a1.html

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that’s pretty funny. not sure what was even deleted.
MODERATORIf you are not sure what was deleted then you didn’t put much thought into it as required by the citation rule. It was just a one line phrase and a link. Not good enough. Read the Citation rule below before commenting again:
BARRY BROOK The commenting rules are not meant to be confusing, they’re meant to be logical. This is not a forum for cut-and-pasting slabs of text, with no other comment other than a link. Tell people why you think they should be interesting in reading this, and what it means for this discussion. Otherwise, you’re not thinking and not contributing. Simple as that.
Citing literature and other sources: appropriate and interesting citations and links within comments are welcomed, but please DO NOT cite material that you have not yourself read, digested and understood. As a general rule, please introduce any and every link or reference with a short description of the material, your judgement on its quality, and the specific reason you are including it (i.e. how it is relevant to the discussion).

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Wasn’t so sure where to put this, but this looks like the most suitable place:

http://www.pointofinquiry.org/nuclear_risk_and_reason_david_brenner_and_david_ropeik/

“How dangerous is radiation, anyway? Do we overreact to reactors?

To tackle that question, we turned to two different guests. One is one of the world’s foremost experts on radiation exposure and its health consequences; the other is a journalist who’s done a new book about why we often misperceive risk, to our own detriment.”

Interesting discussion.

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